Kiwanis Club working with village on park renovations


Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn Club Secretary Bonnie Bartlett, left, and President-elect Suzi Watson-Roberson display past samples of the student’s dictionary. The dictionaries are given by Kiwanis to third graders at Columbia Upper Elementary and Napoleon’s Ezra Eby Elementary every year.

Story and photos
By John Hummer

Fellowship. Fundraising. Fun. These three words are the cornerstones of the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn, along with their commitment to serving the children in the community.

As part of that commitment, a Kiwanis Club committee continues to work on plans for renovations at Swain Memorial Park in Brooklyn, among a host of other activities the club has been busy undertaking in recent weeks.

We have been meeting with the village – the village is completely on board with it,” said Suzi Watson-Roberson, the club’s president-elect at its Oct. 18 meeting. “The whole reason for doing this is to renovate it to the point that it is ADA-compliant. And just to get that old, ugly equipment out of there and put something in there that people are going to want to play on. We’re really excited.

The village is willing to put in sidewalks and really make it more accessible to the rest of the village to be able to get there,” she continued. “And we want parents to be able to take their kids who are in wheelchairs and strollers or whatever and be able to roll up right to the equipment.”

Another park renovation Watson-Roberson noted is a walking path that goes all around the park, with the possibility of having exercise equipment along the path. “[The village] is willing to help with all the maintenance of the equipment – which is wonderful. We’re very excited,” she said. “We’ve got all our renderings – it’s a huge project.”

Watson-Roberson said that Kiwanis has been doing fundraising for the project over the past year and is planning to continue active fundraising as the project really ramps up.

Mother-daughter duo Linda Reynolds and Chris Holbert are members in good standing in the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn.

Arts & Crafts show a success

The 32nd Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn Arts & Crafts Show was a great success. There were over 60 vendors and product consultants, including two food trucks.  

The annual event doubles as a fundraiser for the Swain Park playground renovation project and canned/boxed food items collected go to the Brooklyn Food Pantry.

It takes a lot of hands to coordinate and run an arts and crafts show,” said Watson-Roberson. The show utilized many volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn and also from members of Columbia Central’s National Honor Society the day of the event.

Our craft show has the benefit of being one of the longest-running shows in our area,” said Watson-Roberson, the current craft show coordinator. “But our true success is giving back to the Brooklyn community through the generous donations received for the Brooklyn Food Pantry and our Swain Park playground project.”  

Next year’s arts & crafts show will be on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.

Get out those dictionaries!

In one of the club’s most treasured traditions, the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn dictionaries for third graders at Columbia Upper Elementary School and Ezra Eby Elementary in Napoleon have arrived.

Each year, and we’ve been doing this for over 10 years, we give third graders a special dictionary that gears with them,” said Bonnie Bartlett, club secretary. “It’s not just words; it has parts of language, information about each state in the union, maps from around the world, sign language, the presidents, things about different countries, the longest word in the English language (which is 1,900 letters), and parts of speech. It’s just amazing . . . it’s really exciting. We’ve been doing it for a long time and the kids look forward to it. The teachers build some of their program around the dictionaries.

The goal for Kiwanis was that every third grader in the state of Michigan would receive a dictionary,” continued Bartlett.

The students gain ownership of their dictionary by way of a nameplate in the front of it.

It is really a great way for kids to get used to having to look things up,” said Club President Suzi Watson-Roberson. “I love it.”

In other club news, the Kiwanis raised $1,281 at its recent DJ Trivia Night. “It went very, very well,” said Watson-Roberson. The event was held at Clark Lake Golf Course.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, the club recognized their long community service at the annual Installation of Officers and Awards Banquet at Jerry’s Pub & Restaurant. The banquet brought out several members and guests. Mike Zuchowski, the Division 11 lieutenant governor, acknowledged retiring officers and installed new officers who began their terms on Oct. 1.

The officers for 2022-2023 are President Greg Shira, Vice President Jeanne Gilmore, President-elect Suzi Watson-Roberson, Secretary Bonnie Bartlett and Treasurer Missy Trenkle. The Brooklyn Kiwanis board members installed were Savanna Spindelman, Bob Gilmore, Carol Zimmerman, Chris Holbert, and Keith Williams.

This year, the Brooklyn Kiwanis Club has been celebrating its 25th anniversary as a chartered club in the Kiwanis organization. In 1997, the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn was officially commissioned. The club is not only attractive to those who have a heart for service, but also the only service organization of its kind in our area where women are not part of a men’s auxiliary and can hold leadership positions. Two current members, Phillip Krauss and Linda Reynolds, have been a part of the club since its inception.

For more information on the Kiwanis Club of Brooklyn, find them at

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