Local club's button project makes worldwide difference
To get a button
To buy an Eliminate Project button, call KANDU at 608-755-4123 or contact any Kiwanis or Aktion Club member.
JANESVILLE Nicole Bole was showing Eric Lavigne how to make an Eliminate Project button during their lunch break at KANDU Industries.
The buttons are the creation of local Aktion Club members, who are trying to raise money and awareness about the project. The Eliminate Project is a global Kiwanis International campaign charged with raising $110 million toward eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus by vaccinating women in 20 countries.
Since members of the local Aktion Club—a service club of Kiwanis International for adults living with disabilities—began producing the buttons 18 months ago, they've sold more than 500 buttons, raised $1,000 and saved 500 lives, said Jim McMullen, a club advisor.
In addition to helping people in Third World countries, the buttons also have earned the local club recognition at both the district and international levels. The club won first place for "Best Service Project of the Year" in the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan District and third place for "Best International Service Project."
"The Aktion Club is first in Wisconsin, the district and globally for raising the most money donated for the (Eliminate) project," McMullen said.
Bole created the button's logo of a mother holding a child. Club members agreed on the slogan: "I saved a life. You can, too."
Each button costs $3—enough to pay for one $1.80 vaccination and the cost of materials to make one button.
Buttons are made during club members' lunch breaks, club meetings or during a group gathering when inventory gets low. The buttons are then sold at fish fry dinners held at KANDU, during Kiwanis District Leadership Conferences, Janesville Kiwanis Club meetings, Kiwanis Pancake Days, "or wherever we can sell them," Lavigne said.
The button project has been so successful that McMullen was asked to speak about it during the Kiwanis International Conference in New Orleans. He's also been contacted by other Kiwanis clubs for information on how to use the project as a model.
"We're part of something big; something global. I feel a great sense of pride," he said.
Club members find the project rewarding because they know they are making a difference around the world.
"I see babies dying every day and I want to help them but don't have the money," Bole said. "So through this project I can make a button and support them."
"It's awesome," added Lavigne, who said he sells the buttons whenever he can.
Bole agreed: "We can show the community what we can do and give back. It's amazing we're helping people in Third World countries fight tetanus."