Oct. 7, 1996 File Memo Ref: Parents' telephone conversation with Kiwanis Int'l


PREPARED BY: Monroe Gilmour
DATE: October 7, 1996
SUBJ: Kiwanis International Board Meeting Sept 30--Oct 3, 1996
Telephone conversation on Oct 7 about meeting's outcome

Today I called Kiwanis International headquarters in Indianapolis to ask what had happened at their Board meeting last week in regard to the Terrific Kids Program. The International Secretary's administrative assistant told me that the Secretary, Mr. A.G. Terry Shaffer, had instructed Chris Rice, Director of Programs, to call and tell me what had happened.

Later in the day Mr. Rice called and explained the following:

When I asked what possible actions the Board may take at the January meeting, Mr. Rice said that the Board would probably do one of two things: either instruct him to make changes in the "Bulletin" about Terrific Kids OR decide not to issue any new Bulletins about Terrific Kids and let Kiwanis Clubs know about the problems.

Mr. Rice explained that all Kiwanis International projects have "Bulletins" issued. There are about 40 or 50 Bulletins covering projects as diverse as international understanding and proper pre-natal care for women. Each defines a project a local club might want to undertake.

When I asked what "not issuing new Bulletins" means, he said that it would mean no new programs would start and that the old programs would be cautioned about the problems. I expressed my thought that people outside Kiwanis would consider it irresponsible to continue the program without making program design changes that eliminate the unintended negative element. I added proposed design changes should be developed or at least reviewed by professionals in early childhood education and psychology.

In acknowledging my point, he added that because Kiwanis International has so many programs (40 plus Bulletins)on its plate, it is unlikely that they will invest any money in having an outside consultant work on the Terrific Kid program. He seemed to be saying that the Board would probably lean toward not issuing any new Terrific Kids Bulletins (except the one telling about the problems).

I said that we did not want to discourage Kiwanis' involvement in the schools or its work on self-esteem programs but that we could not sit still while the Terrific Kids program continues hurting children. He indicated he could understand that position.

I asked him to write me a letter that I could share with other parents outlining what he had told me and he said he would.

He also indicated that he might begin working on a Bulletin to alert clubs of the problems. But that was a little fuzzy and we will have to await his letter for clarification. I had stressed that we feel clubs should be made aware of the problems as soon as possible because children continue to be hurt by the program in schools unaware of the problems.

I did not sense any defensiveness in Mr. Rice. He seemed quite matter- of-fact. Neither did I sense any desire or commitment from Kiwanis International to go through a rigorous process of making remedial changes in program design.