Caring is what makes our community great Our Community

ARLINGTON — There are many things which make our community such a great place to live, but the one thing that really makes the difference is that our community cares about those who call it home.

Arlington is blessed with a wide variety of service organizations, groups and non-profits whose members strive to improve the lives of those facing challenging times.

They all deserve recognition and our thanks.

While it is not possible to mention them all, the Arlington Rotary and Kiwanis Club embody the spirit and generosity of all those who call Arlington home.

The Arlington Rotary and Kiwanis Club aim to improve both their local communities and the world as a whole, and they often work together to do it.

Arlington Kiwanis Club

“We’re a local organization that’s dedicated to making the community better, one child at a time,” said Arlington Kiwanis member George Boulton. “Our emphasis has been on youth since day one.”

For the Arlington Kiwanis Club, “day one” was in 1954, when they received their charter. They currently have 32 members, who meet the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club.

The Arlington Kiwanis Club’s annual fundraisers include its holiday “swag” and wreath sales, as well as its Fourth of July auction to support its high school scholarships. According to Boulton, the Arlington Kiwanis typically generate between $2,000 to $3,000 each year for four scholarships. The Arlington Kiwanis support the Arlington and Lakewood school districts, while the Darrington Kiwanis Club covers the Darrington School District.

While the Arlington Kiwanis have raised significant funds for non-youth organizations, such as the Stillaguamish Senior Center, their primary focus remains on the community’s youth.

“We help send young people to summer camps and conferences,” Boulton said. “We even help them go to Europe for exchange programs, and Washington, D.C., for leadership training. I literally couldn’t tell you all the things we do for them.”

For more information, Boulton invited people to call Arlington Kiwanis President Michael Prihoda at 360-435-8800, or to log onto the Arlington Kiwanis Club’s Web site at Boulton serves as the site-master and admitted that the Web site is “a work in progress,” but he plans to have it up to speed as soon as he’s able.

“The Kiwanis, the Rotary and the Lions Club of Arlington all do great work,” Boulton said of the community’s service organizations.

Arlington Rotary

“The members of our club volunteer their time and talent to put service above self,” said Karri Hansen, president of the Arlington Rotary.

The Arlington Rotary started out as the North Snohomish County Rotary in 1970, but as it helped start other branches, including the Marysville Rotary, it renamed itself the Arlington Rotary in the 1990s to distinguish itself from the other branches.

The Arlington Rotary’s main annual fundraiser is the “Duck Dash,” held every July 4 at Haller Park, after Arlington’s Fourth of July Parade. According to Hansen, the Rotary is also considering an annual performance of some kind at the Linda M. Byrnes Performing Arts Center to raise funds, following last year’s Rotary fundraiser performance of a harpist at the PAC.

Hansen echoed Boulton by citing the contributions of the Arlington Kiwanis and Lions clubs to projects that the Arlington Rotary has been involved in, such as the building of a playground that saw volunteers from all three service organizations doing manual labor on the site. Hansen added that the Arlington Rotary awards scholarships to students from the Arlington, Lakewood and Darrington school districts. While Rotary normally sets aside $1,500 for each school district, Hansen noted that, in cases where a student is unable to attend college without Rotary’s help, Rotary is willing to set aside $20,000 for a four-year scholarship.

The Arlington Rotary supports the Arlington Kids Kloset and Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Stillaguamish Senior Center, and it’s both sent and hosted exchange students, most recently from Thailand and Argentina. Like Kiwanis, Rotary is an international organization, and Hansen proudly pointed to the Arlington Rotary’s work on behalf of care centers in Africa and clean water in China.

“Rotary International is the recipient of the largest grant ever from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to eradicate polio,” Hansen said. “Dr. Lee Harman, one of our members, is in India right now, administering polio vaccines.”

The Arlington Rotary’s 75 members meet every Thursday at noon in the Cedarcrest Restaurant. For more information, call Hansen at 360-653-2576.

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