In 2012-2013, our Kiwanis Governor’s project was on Autism providing iPads to children on the Spectrum. After that first year, the project was continued as a District sponsored project and last year was voted to be the District Signature Project for the next five years. The original goal of the project was 1000 iPads and $500,000 raised for the project. As of this writing, we are now at 1005 iPads granted. In other words, the Wisconsin Upper Michigan District with this project has changed 1005 children’s lives. This follows the Kiwanis theme: “Improving the world one child and one community at a time.”

The impact of this project goes beyond the lives of the 1005 children to whom the iPads have been granted – because it has also impacted the lives of their siblings, their parents, and the employers and co-employees of the parents as well. Instead of one thousand lives, we can safely say that it is thousands of lives that the iPad project has affected.

This project is one that, when it was first proposed, some considered would be too large to be successful as a district project. Some said it should be started as a trial project, a local community project. However, because of the response from a large percentage of the clubs in the District, we have proved the naysayers wrong. We have blown the top off the goal of 1000 iPads to children in need and these children now have a voice with the use of the iPad.

Thank you, thank you to all the clubs over the past 5 years plus that have participated in this project, helping us to reach and surpass the original goal. Moving forward, a new goal needs to be set. I feel, realistically, the next goal could be 1250. The needs are never ending and the grant applications keep coming in. Autism is not only a concern to be addressed in the WIUM – it is a worldwide problem. With four more years as the signature project, who knows? Maybe we can reach 2000.

Lynn Messer, 2012-2013 Governor and current Signature Project Chair