By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- In keeping with their priority of helping young children, the nine Kiwanis clubs in Trumbull County are working together to raise $100,000 for the Children's Rehabilitation Center.
The nonprofit Kiwanis Division 25 Legacy Fund Inc. was formed to raise $20,000 each year for five years to assist with Project Love, CRC's $1.5 million capital campaign to expand the facility. Division 25 includes the Kiwanis clubs in Warren, Champion, Cortland, Girard-Liberty, Howland, Hubbard, Newton Falls, Niles and Vienna.
CRC offers physical, occupational and speech therapy and day care to more than 500 children each year, regardless of their parents' incomes. It receives funding from United Way and Trumbull County Lifelines. The project would nearly double the size of the Howland facility.
"Kiwanis has always focused much of its attention on young children," said Steve Stevens, Division 25 lieutenant governor and a member of the Newton Falls club, adding that Project Love fits with that mission.
The types of fund-raising events haven't been determined, Stevens said, adding that a decision is expected by the end of August.
Dominic Mancini, CRC spokesman, said the Kiwanis' pledge is the largest so far from a civic organization. Other groups that are contributing include the Rotary clubs of Warren, Howland and Kinsman and the Warren Exchange Club, which is a child advocacy organization.
First Place Bank Community Foundation, Home Savings Charitable Foundation also are among the donors.
Mancini said the center hopes to break ground on its expansion in May 2003.
Stevens said Kiwanis challenges other civic organizations to get on board with the CRC project as well.
Reason for project
One of the people involved with the project is a member of the Warren club, contributing to the organization's involvement.
The Kiwanis also view the project as a way to get their organization's name out in an atmosphere when many civic clubs are having difficulty attracting new members.
"It also provides an opportunity for all nine clubs to start working as a team," Stevens said.
The groups often meet together and discuss business but don't often work as a group on a single project.
"The main focus of the Kiwanis International organization is improving the lives of young children," Stevens said. "I can't think of a better way to meet that objective on the local level than Project Love."
The Children's Rehabilitation Center began as a project by the Rotary Club of Warren in 1951 and evolved into the Trumbull County Society for Crippled Children in 1957, with participation of the Niles Rotary Club.
The center moved to Howland-Wilson Road in 1969 and last was expanded in 1982.