How Focus on Doing Something Well Leads to Success

Focus, Train, and Succeed

Kiwanis Club International focuses on “changing the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time.”Kiwanis focus on catering

Over the years Kiwanis Club of Woodlake has learned how to modify the world by focusing on doing something well. This active service club of around twenty members runs a tight serving ship. Kiwanis members have helped caterers for the public, service organizations, and private parties.

Kiwanis focus on cateringServing at weddings and events like the Awards Dinner involves much more energy and hands than the Kiwanians can provide. So they partner with their sponsored youth groups, Key and Builders’ Club, the high school, and middle school service clubs.  As a result, students work hand in hand with experts in the field. Each time the students serve, their organization earns money which goes towards scholarships.

Opportunities for Students to Succeed

Kiwanis focus on catering
Figuring out the logistics of the appetizer table

Through their combined expertise in serving, Kiwanis of Woodlake has developed awesome opportunities for individual and groups of students.

Students benefit in many ways.

Professional Training Provided

Kiwanis focus on catering
CEO of Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber, Armondo Apodaca, trains Key Club and Kiwanis members about formal etiquette.

This year about twenty students from 6th-12th grades attended a training session with a former restaurant manager, CEO of Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber, Armondo Apodaca. After instruction in table setting, students divided into groups to put their learning into practice. Each group served one portion of a five-course meal. When they were not serving, they engaged their table mates, which included adults in dinner conversation.

Kiwanis focus on catering
Each group had to set their table first.

After the training, the service club members had multiple opportunities to serve at various events. In a short time, these students established a name for themselves. Working tirelessly for as many hours as the adults, they provided polite and excellent service with a smile.

Each Event Is On-the-Job Training

Kiwanis focus on cateringFor the most part, the events at which Key and Builders’ Club students serve and the adults who supervise them are the community leaders. Besides earning community service hours, which they need to graduate, students learn essential skills that will guarantee their success as productive citizens.

  • Kiwanis focus on cateringMore than contributing to a general Kiwanis scholarship fund, each student learns a valuable trade, social management, problem-solving and communication skills advancing them far beyond their peers.
  • They have time to observe and learn how their friends work with deadlines. They act as a team. It is almost like a coeducational sports team.
  • They are busy. Because students are busy doing adult work, they have no time or inclination to get into trouble. Most of these students end up with hundreds of hours more community service work than they need for graduation.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • Adults rely on students’ problem-solving skills. When you provide service for caterers, all kinds of detail issues arise. Adults may not have the best answers. What happens when there are no water pitchers, or the food service providers are late? What happens when there are too many or few appetizers for the table space, or you can’t find them. The person who solves the problem is the hero for the minute.Kiwanis focus on catering
  •  Tight management is essential. Although there is an adult in charge of every event, students learn to manage each other as well. Given an overall task, the Key and Builders’ Club students subdivide so that no logistics fall through the cracks.
  • Politeness is essential. When one adult orders a student to do a task followed by a second command by a different adult, students are taught stop and explain to the second or third adult what they are doing and who gave the instruction and not to be confused and jump on every command.
  • Adults learn their names and the capabilities of each student. Many of these same adults make scholarship decisions, interview students to go to leadership conferences, or grade graduation portfolios.
  • Students have real work experience to add to their resumes for scholarships and employment.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • They develop relationships with influential people who can give them honest recommendations.
  • Many of the students in Woodlake come from farm labor families. They work very hard and see their parents and grandparents working long hours for minimum wages. Numerous other employment opportunities could open for Key and Builders’ Club students who work with professional and volunteer servers.Kiwanis focus on catering
  • Although few of these students will go into the catering business, many of them may work their way through college as servers. Most of them go to college. Their home backgrounds and work in providing service for caterers has prepared them for hard work, getting along with all kinds of people, solving real-world problems, and has earned money for the Kiwanis scholarships.
  • Most of all, serving at parties and events is fun for kids.
    Kiwanis catering focus
    Kiwanis serves events of all sizes.

    They are treated as adults as they work with peers they enjoy.

About Kiwanis

Although Kiwanis of Woodlake is part of the International Club serving children, it is unique. Woodlake’s Club participates in District, Regional, and National Campaigns, such as Miracle Mile of Quarters, Read Around the World, Key Leader, Special Olympics, and Bowl-a-Thon. Kiwanis puts on the Pancake Breakfast during Rodeo Week, sponsors a Run for Hunger to benefit the Woodlake Food Pantry, the July 3rd Blast to entertain the community as we all celebrate Independence Day, and many other single events.

I am proud to be a Kiwanis member. But I have a request. Kiwanis of Woodlake needs adult volunteers who want to serve the community as members. You are welcome to join our weekly meetings at 6:30 am at the Presbyterian Church on Naranjo. Three out of four weeks a month we invite a community member to speak to the group. If you are interested in joining, please fill out the contact form, and someone from the club will meet with you in person or over the phone to give you more information.

9 responses to “How Focus on Doing Something Well Leads to Success”

  1. smilingtoad Avatar

    Excellent example of symbiosis here. I know getting really good at something requires practice, humility and determination. Mentors, words of encouragement and guidance, and growth through camaraderie and teamwork…make all the difference, I think. Eliminating that sometimes defeating feeling of “I’m all alone at this.” This is an astounding and wonderful example of just that. They also get a taste of acceptance and competence in the adult world here. How wonderful for self-esteem and confidence. I love it. What a glorious example of how important community really is.

    I recently read a book, “Spaceman” by Mike Massimino. (Have you read it? I had been impatiently waiting for him to write this book for years- he FINALLY got around to it, the blumphead.) He was revealing just how much his own success depended on those who helped, encouraged and taught him the value of teamwork and sharing responsibility with others, and to not shirk from and fear the blows of failure but to embrace them- as long as he got up again!

    “We have this idea in America of the self-made man. We love to celebrate individual achievement. We have these icons like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford and Benjamin Franklin, and we talk about how amazing it is that they did these great things and built themselves up out of nothing. I think the self-made man is a myth. I’ve never believed in it. I can honestly say that I’ve never achieved anything on my own. Whether it was my parents encouraging me to follow my dreams, or mentors like Jim McDonald who saw something in me, or classmates like Greg Chamitoff who challenged me to do better, I owe everything I’ve ever accomplished to the people around me- people who pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

    He provided a great example in the book. After he obtained his Master’s at MIT, he decided to go for his PhD. In order to proceed, he had to pass a qualifying exam, which, as you can imagine, was terrifyingly rigorous. For his first go at it, he spent months preparing all by himself in a library during the snows of the Boston winter, bleakly attempting to cram his mind with as much information as possible. As you can imagine, he was obliterated when it came to his oral presentation where he had to defend his ideas, his knowledge, and research.

    He almost gave up.

    Then, he decided to seek out fellow students, ones who had already gone through the qualifying exam process, and developed a new system of teamwork and friendship. He was obliterated by his peers over and over until his ideas strengthened and became more expansive and in-depth, and his confidence grew. They gave him tips and new ways of approaching the problem. They encouraged him. He realized he wasn’t alone, there were people all around, people more than willing to help- one only needs to but ask. Life is not a competition and one of the greatest things he gleaned from university life is that people need one another, that we cannot go it alone. This example of the need for support and being part of a team springs up time and again as he goes through the process of becoming an astronaut and ultimately when he was working on the Hubble and things were going awry- teamwork and camaraderie, community, friendship- it makes all the difference!

    A friend of mine is going through a qualifying exam at the Sorbonne in Paris right now. She finished the written exams and is preparing for the orals…I keep hoping she will ask fellow students to help her prepare, but currently, she is stubbornly insisting on preparing alone (as she has throughout this process.) I suspect she is too afraid and shy to ask for help…I know that can be tremendously hard. It will be less so, however, for the young people you feature here, Marsha, I think. They’re learning early-on how to ask for help without shame, bruised pride or fear. They are learning such vital skills to carry them through the rest of their lives, to help them follow their dreams. Excellent post, Marsha. I am blown away.

    And…DRAT I rambled on way too long…again…



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      WOW, ST, this is not rambling, this is engaging in conversation, which you do so well. I have not read that book, but I have read Outliers by Daniel Pink, which speaks to the same idea. If you haven’t read it, he examines the lives of some of our more iconic people, like Bill Gates, and explains why he was able to do what he did. For example, there are no pro, or at least well-known pro-hockey players with birthdays in Nov. or Dec. You’ll have to read the book to learn why. So thank you for your learned and thoughtful response. As I say, I have missed you for a while! Without bloggers with whom you communicate deeply, the blogging experience is a game of numbers. I enjoy the numbers part, and it is somewhat of a game as I told Tina Frisco. But under the numbers are real people, not tons, but just a few with whom you connect and remain friends for years. That is rewarding. 🙂 MLI 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. smilingtoad Avatar

        Getting the book tonight. Thanks for the recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Marsha Avatar

          You are too cute! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Marsha Avatar

            That’s the one, not Daniel Pink, but Malcolm Gladwell. Sorry for the mixup! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          2. smilingtoad Avatar

            Got it! Avidly looking forward to the read. Thanks Marsha!

            P.S. Met up with more frogs this past even, and this time, I had me camera 😉 A turtle also swam right up into my face (it seems I was sprawled in the muck, somehow…) Meanwhile, a curious alligator swam up but shunned the camera the ogre. And I met a praying mantis of all things! The mantis was an absolute doll but seemed to confuse me with a tree and clambered all over me. Then I walked into a tree. So many jollies, so little time. Sir saw an opossum, too, the fiend, when he scuttled off!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. smilingtoad Avatar

            Book addiction is UGLY, not cute, or twee or even quaint! I have a serious problem… 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Marsha Avatar

            I guess addictions are all problematic. But this one seems rather benign. Your addictions could be worse! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

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