Members of the Kiwanis Club prepare for their monthly dinner service at Chapman Partnership. Air Force Captain Arnold Perez, third row center, heads up the meal service and reading programs for Kiwanis.

Members of the Kiwanis Club prepare for their monthly dinner service at Chapman Partnership. Air Force Captain Arnold Perez, third row center, heads up the meal service and reading programs for Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis Club of Homestead-South Dade (HomesteadKiwanis.org), one of South Florida’s most active community service organizations, has reactivated its involvement with Chapman Partnership’s Homeless Assistance Center in Homestead with a monthly dinner service for the clients at Chapman Partnership. 

“Chapman Partnership has always needed volunteers,” said Air Force Captain Arnold Perez, president-elect and program chair of the Kiwanis Club.  “And after the pandemic, that need grew tremendously as more people needed Chapman Partnership’s services.  We’ve been involved with Chapman Partnership for years so once the facility reopened for volunteering, we immediately stepped up to help those less fortunate.” 

Since its founding in 1995, Chapman Partnership has had more than 120,000 admissions including 25,000 children in Miami-Dade County. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Chapman Partnership—the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homesless Trust—operates two Homeless Assistance Centers with 800 beds located in Miami and Homestead. The organization helps the homeless by providing a comprehensive support program that includes emergency housing, meals, health, and psychiatric care, daycare, job training, job placement, and assistance with securing stable housing. Chapman Partnership empowers homeless men, women, and children to build a positive future by providing the resources and assistance critical to growth and independence.  

Members of the club—lead by Perez—now do a monthly dinner service for Chapman Partnership’s residents in addition to weekly Friday morning readings to children enrolled in the Early Childhood Center’s Head Start program located at Chapman Partnership.  The readings, known as Storytime, has been a Kiwanis-Chapman program for nearly 20 years, including reading via Zoom during the pandemic. 

“Kiwanis’ involvement with Chapman Partnership has been tremendously helpful and impactful,” said Candice Myles, Community Relations Manager at the organization. “The monthly dinner service relieves our staff, which enables them to do a variety of other tasks to serve our clients. Having organizations such as Kiwanis participate in the food service also shows our residents that our community cares about them and boosts their self-esteem.” 

According to Fred J. Clermont, administrator of the Head Start program located at the Chapman Partnership—which encompasses approximately 80 kids—the Kiwanis members’ interaction with the children is extremely helpful. 

 “The Kiwanis Club’s reading has been invaluable,” said Clermont. ‘It shows the children that someone cares enough about them to take the time out of their day and interact with them and that builds their self-confidence and self-worth.” 

The Early Childhood Center’s Head Start/Early Head Start program, located at the Chapman Partnership, is operated by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and funded by Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department. 

For Kiwanis Club of Homestead-South Dade membership information, or to participate in one of its upcoming community service projects, visit HomesteadKiwanis.org or contact Perez at (305) 205-3148. 

 

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