Kiwanis Club showcases youth talent one performance at a time – and offers BIG rewards!
Singing, dancing, magic tricks, instrumental solos — the list goes on. At Paulding County Kiwanis Club’s first “Stars of Tomorrow” youth competition on May 19, sponsored by Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op, nothing is off-limits.
“We really don’t have anything aimed at developing the arts like this around our area,” says Shaun Matako, senior pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Paulding and Kiwanis Club member. “Doing this is important because it’s a positive, productive creative outlet for kids. God put something inside everyone and this can help draw those talents out.”
The 55-year-old’s list of skills for kids to showcase is extensive, including less common ones, like acting, storytelling, or makeup tutorials. He knows the vast variety of skills children have and has witnessed it firsthand. After all, he’s fostered 47 kids, has three children of his own, and loves his six grandchildren dearly. We won’t forget his “furry kids” either — two dogs: a Yorkie, Sir Riley, and English Lab, Sadie Noelle.
To put it simply, Matako admits his life is busy. He usually goes to bed around 11 p.m. and wakes at 4 a.m. But his dedication to making an impact cannot be questioned.
Married for 34 years, Matako and his wife, Jodi, have special places in their hearts for children. No matter where they lived, from Colorado to Idaho (where Matako trained 11 other pastor professors), they believe “children are a blessing that should be revered.” So in 2002, when Matako learned of his local Kiwanis Club while living in Wyoming, he was hooked on their mission: “to improve the lives of children one community at a time.”
Since moving to Payne, Ohio, in 2016, Matako immediately located the Paulding Kiwanis Club and dove in. “Kiwanis” was borrowed from a Native American phrase meaning “We trade our talents” — something Matako has not forgotten.
But it’s also a part of something much larger: Kiwanis International is a global community of more than 600,000 members in 8,000 clubs ranging from K-Kids to Key Club throughout 96 countries. Whether fighting hunger, disease, or poverty; improving literacy; or simply offering guidance, Kiwanis clubs pursue creative ways to meet children’s needs by hosting nearly 150,000 service projects each year with more than 18 million service hours. Additionally, these clubs raise more than $100 million dollars to support community causes.
If you want to help but can’t attend Paulding Kiwanis’s “Stars of Tomorrow” talent show on May 19 (free-will donation entry), Matako recommends that you look in to your own local chapter, find out what events the clubs are doing, and attend them. Or, volunteering your time or resources is always an option, too. After all, anything helps.
“There’s something really special about Kiwanis people,” Matako says. “It’s a collection of the heart of the community. They have a finger on the real pulse of what’s going on.”
Attending a Kiwanis Club meeting means receiving a free lunch, but that’s just the beginning. Because when you stop to think about it, what’s more important than supporting the next generation?
“When you look at kids, you see pure love, joy, and happiness,” Matako says, smiling. “The best of who God is is inside every child. So we must do what we can to support them.”
Tickets for “Stars of Tomorrow” on Sunday, May 19, at Paulding High School Auditeria at 2 pm will be free-will donation. For details, contact Shaun Matako at 567-344-0517.
To learn more about Kiwanis, visit www.kiwanis.org. Headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Details on Kiwanis clubs in Ohio can be found at www.ohiokiwanis.org. To find a club in Indiana, visit www.indkiw.org.