They’re GR-R-REAT! Kiwanis Club recognizes Terrific Kids |

They’re GR-R-REAT! Kiwanis Club recognizes Terrific Kids

Thoughtful. Enthusiastic. Respectful. Responsible. Influential. Friendly. Impeccable. Caring.

Those words create an acronym that defines the qualities that are found in every child recognized by Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club in its Terrific Kids program.

Terrific Kids rewards children for positive behavior. In an informal ceremony on Friday, school staff and members of the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club recognized 57 students at Glenwood Springs Elementary School.

“What does `influential’ mean?” asked one Terrific Kid after raising his hand.

Terrific Kids awards are presented throughout the school year to students in grades K-4 at GSES and at St. Stephen’s Catholic School. Glenwood Springs Kiwanis presents awards at GSES, and the Roaring Fork Kiwanis Club presents awards at St. Stephen’s.

“This is not an academic award,” explained Glenwood Springs Kiwanis member Rob Weeter.

At the start of the school year, teachers help students set goals for the year. Those goals might include making good choices, trying harder, being less fidgety, helping the teacher, using good manners, and paying more attention in class.

When students attain their goal, they are rewarded. Every student has the opportunity to be a winner.

“Some of the kids getting these awards may never have received an award before,” explained Weeter. “They are learning how to accept an award. They are learning how to shake hands. They are so excited, and it’s the simplest thing to do.”

Weeter said that about 80 percent of students receive awards throughout the year, “but our goal is 100 percent.”

Some very positive results come out of the program, said Weeter. Student achievement goes up, and students tend to litter a little less and to behave more appropriately. Some children have been known to behave better at home.

When parents see how excited and proud their children are, they often become more interested in their child’s education and more involved in school functions.

“Teachers are loving it, parents are loving it,” said Weeter.

Weeter, a third generation Kiwanian, suggested the program locally after moving here two and a half years ago from Greensboro, N.C., where it was a popular program.

Terrific Kids is a collaborative effort between schools, the Kiwanis Club and a business sponsor. McDonalds restaurant in South Glenwood Springs sponsors the program locally.

One of the main goals of Kiwanis is to support children, Weeter said. Locally, Kiwanis Clubs supports numerous awards and scholarship programs. It provides free and low-cost bike helmets to children participating in annual Bike Rodeo events, and helps support Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Special Olympics.

Kiwanis also promotes volunteerism and leadership skill for middle school children through the Builders Club and for high school students through Key Club. Kiwanis members are working to introduce K-Kids, a similar program offered at the elementary school level, into local schools.

Terrific Kids is just one way of supporting and encouraging children to be and do their best at an early age, Weeter said.

In addition to receiving a certificate, plenty of congratulations and encouragement from teachers, administrators and Kiwanis members, Terrific Kids also receive a pencil, a free ice cream from McDonalds, and a sticker to wear for the day that identifies them as a Terrific Kid. Awards are presented monthly, and group photographs are prominently displayed at the Glenwood Springs McDonalds.

Parents also receive something: a bumper sticker that boasts, “I’m a proud parent of a Terrific Kid.”

“This bumper sticker is for your mom and dad,” said GSMS Principal Jim Phillips as he presented certificates. “That’s the only thing they get. The award is for you.”

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