Scholarship and Projects

Kiwanis Awards $10,000 in Scholarships

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the Kiwanis Club of Vero Treasure Coast awarded five local high school students each a $2000 college scholarship.  Board member Stuart Keiller introduced the five recipients and shared their college aspirations.  Scholarship funds were raised from the Annual Golf Tournament.  

From Left to Right Madison Coker, Baylee Walker, Dayna Dayem, and Caelyn Butler 

Kira Kimes

On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast awarded five $2000 scholarships to graduating seniors from Indian River County.  The ceremony was held at Vero Beach Yacht Club. Kiwanis member and Lt. Governor for Florida Kiwanis, Al Sammartino, presided and spoke about each of the recipients.  The program began with Kristina Gregg, from Vero Beach High School singing the National Anthem.  Kristina is headed to college majoring in Music Theatre.  Each of the five graduates shared their college goals, introduced their parents and guests, and thanked Kiwanis for the scholarship funds.  The accomplishments of these five students are outstanding.  President Doug Vitunac shared that since 1987 Kiwanis has awarded over $300,000 to Indian River County high school graduates.  Funds for scholarships are raised through the annual Kiwanis golf tournament.

Another successful Kiwanis Golf Tournament was held on April 15, which means more scholarships are now available to help aspiring students.

Raising money to fund scholarships for Indian River County students is an annual Kiwanis Club tradition that dates back 1987.  Since then, the club has provided over $275,000 to graduating seniors headed to college.  To fund the scholarships, Kiwanis hosts the Annual Kiwanis Scholarship Golf Tournament.  The first tournament back in 1987, known as “Kiwanis Golf Day” was held at Sandridge Golf Club and again this year it was held at Sandridge on Saturday, April 15th.

There were 68 golfers and over 40 local business sponsors.  Kiwanis member, Matt Hamilton, has served in recent years as the golf chair working with fellow Kiwanians as a team to ensure the event’s success.

This year’s tournament winners were:  First Flight (and Overall Lowest Score): Thomas Butz, Chris Lyons, Kevin Corr, and Michael Alford.  Second Flight:  Doug Vitunac, Charles Vitunac, Patrick Ottuso, and Chris Cassinari.

The big winners though are the kids.  Kiwanis Scholarship Committee members have met to review this year’s applicants. Criteria include grade point average, community service, and participation in either Kiwanis Youth in Action or one of the county’s Key Clubs.   Recipients will be announced on May 10th.  Many of the past recipients continue to keep in touch with Kiwanis members on progress in college and their chosen professions.

Kiwanis thanks all participants and sponsors for their support of our local graduates and Matt Hamilton for his leadership.   Special praise to Sandridge Golf Club and Bela Nagy for supporting Kiwanis over these many years.

If you would like more information about the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast visit our website at  This year the club will celebrate 50 years serving the kids of Indian River County.


On Saturday, December 10, 2022, The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast hosted the Indian River Charter High School Choir called Volare for an outstanding performance of song at the Vero Beach Yacht Club.  Under the direction of Ethan Kinkle, Volare sang two extended sets of holiday tunes and favorites for attendees.  This event helped to provide funds for a new Kiwanis initiative within the Indian River County Schools called Service Leadership Programs.  Launched in the last year under the leadership of Kiwanis member Bill Cala, new K-kids Clubs and Builders Clubs have been implemented in elementary and middle schools to help students engage in volunteer work to serve their schools.  Each club has a teacher and Kiwanis representative to work with the students.  Both K-kids Clubs and Builders Clubs are part of Kiwanis International’s Mission.  Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.

In addition to the two Key Clubs at Vero Beach High School and Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach Kiwanis has expanded Service Leadership Programs into the elementary (K-Kids) and middle schools (Builders Club) in 2022.  Service Leadership Programs are now in Imagine Charter School, Indian 

River Academy, Osceola Magnet School, Fellsmere Elementary, Beachland  Elementary and Dodgertown Elementary. Projects have included mulching) at all participating schools and volunteering at Shining Light Garden. Long-term goals are to have Kiwanis service clubs in all Indian River Schools.  Kiwanis was recently recognized by the Indian River County School District for partnering to help students.

Club President Doug Vitunac extends special thanks to all that attended the December 10th event and to all sponsors.

On the United Way “Day of Caring”, the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast worked with the staff and students of Beachland Elementary School to install mulch and landscaping around the campus.  Kiwanis is starting a K-Kids club in the school to help the kids create and perform their own service projects, teaching the value of service to others.  Pictured below, Kiwanis members Doug Vitunac and Tim Wright assist Beachland parents and student volunteers.

On Saturday, January 8th Kiwanis members and high school Key Club members took on the tasks of painting the entire wooden railing around the lake at St. Francis Manor, a local non-profit, and painting another building at a second site.   Pictured below is Kiwanis member Steffan Lundberg helping students along with members Jeff Meyers and Richard Schlitt.  To learn more about Kiwanis Youth in Action click on the brochure below.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast attended Main Street Vero Beach’s “Coffee with the Mayor” event, held at the Heritage Center, on Friday, September 9, 2022, to show their support for Richard Schlitt and Al Sammartino, who were given the “Very Vero” award to honor their many years of service to the community through Kiwanis and the Kiwanis Youth in Action Club.   Sammartino was out of town and President Doug Vitunac accepted in his place.



On Saturday March 13, 2021 91 teens and 25 adults participated in the “Kiwanis Youth in Action (KYIA) Day of Service”.  Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast this quarterly event was helped in four major community service projects as follows.

One group built raised gardens at the ARC where the teens were taught basic carpentry skills.  Another group helped harvest and clean vegetables at the Shining Light Gardens. All the produce will be donated to area food banks to help those who are food insecure.

The largest group of teens and adult mentors spent the day at the Environmental Learning Center re-building gravel walkways, doing outdoor clean-up and helping with environmental displays. Finally, another large group sealed the outside of the Youth Guidance Building in preparation for painting it in a few weeks.

Each of these groups was supervised by Kiwanis members who ensured that proper COVID safety protocols were followed. The Kiwanis Club provided water and lunch for all. This was an inspiring example of local teens giving back by helping several non-profits in our county

Vero Beach, Fl. August 12, 2020

On June 11, 2020 the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast awarded college scholarships to Indian River county high school graduates Joey Dominguez, Valerie Fodor, Victoria Fodor, Katherine Garafalo, Luke Sammartino , and Jennifer Studsill.

The scholars all achieved honors at their schools and also averaged more than 300 hours of community service.  Nearly all participated in Kiwanis Youth in Action county-wide service initiatives as well as in Kiwanis-sponsored beach and island clean-up projects.

Over the years, The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast has given out more than $200,000 in scholarships. For more information about Kiwanis go to

 The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast mission in our community isto help support children’s education, activities and charities. Besides giving annual college scholarships, our club actively sponsors Key Clubs in Vero Beach High School, Indian River County Charter High School, and Sebastian River High School. Since 1998 Kiwanis Youth in Action has  performed community service work days involving teenagers from schools and churches. Since 1991, we have sponsored the Annual Take-a–Kid-Fishing Tournament.

Kiwanis of Vero-Treasure Coast also sponsors an Aktion Club for children with special needs.

Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 and is dedicated to serving children. Today, there are nearly 600,000 members in 80 countries. The first Kiwanis Club in Vero Beach was organized in 1935 and today serves Indian River County children with programs, scholarships and events to serve their needs and goals.

Community service can be the most rewarding “job” you will ever have without being paid. We know that as adults. Imagine if kids felt the same way.

Imagine no more. The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast has made it their mission to involve teenagers in service to the community through a program known as “Kiwanis Youth in Action.” Hundreds of kids participate each year on projects to help the needy, the elderly and non-profits – and they love it!

Kiwanis Youth in Action (KYIA) began 25 years ago when two long time Vero residents and Kiwanis members, Richard Schlitt and Al Sammartino, started a program designed to engage area teens in community service projects that filled a need and taught them a valuable lesson. According to Schlitt, “Our projects were designed to help those in need, one family at a time, whether it was to repair a fence, paint a room, or anything residents could not afford to take care of themselves or were physically unable to do it.”

Schlitt and Sammartino recruited volunteers from church groups and high school, especially from the Kiwanis high school equivalent, the Key Club. Typically, each Kiwanis Club in a town sponsors a Key Club at the local middle or high school. In Indian River County, there are four Key Clubs, each enthusiastically volunteering on KYIA projects.

Teen volunteers often engage their parents and other adults to help. Upwards of 150 of them gather at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings in the parking lot of St. Helen’s Church and receive their assignments – pressure washing and/or painting houses, general hammer and nail repairs, removal and replacement of shrubs, replacing windows, doors and essential home fixtures, building ramps for the wheelchair bound and a host of other tasks. Additionally, KYIA efforts have expanded to perform beach clean-ups and many other work projects for non-profit organizations. For instance, they recently removed weeds and non-native growth at the Environmental Learning Center, did beach clean-up projects for Keep Indian River Beautiful and painted group homes at the Hibiscus Children’s Center.

Each work group is accompanied by a Kiwanis member and/or parent. All projects are typically completed before lunch, which is then provided by Kiwanis members during a hamburger and hot dog cookout.

Kiwanis Youth in Action has extended beyond our local communities in emergencies. They have performed adult-supervised projects in the Bahamas, providing needed supplies and materials after last summer’s hurricane. And in Puerto Rico, they rebuilt a 150-student preschool after the recent disasters those residents endured.

All of these projects are funded through donations and Kiwanis project funds.  Needless to say, the program has grown significantly from its roots 25 years ago as different social service agencies advise where this kind of volunteer work is needed.

The Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast recently participated in the Centennial Chili Cookout held on Saturday, October 27th  at Riverside Park in Vero Beach.  Special thanks to everyone that helped prepare the delicious chili and support the event.

Recently several members of the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast along with members of the local high school Key Clubs traveled to Puerto Rico .  They worked on a pre-school that serves 150 students. The building was rebuilt by our team using about 80% of the old roofing material and nails. Key Club members participating on the trip included Richard Schlitt, Al Sammartino and Jack Leahy.  This is another example of the service work of the Kiwanis Club of Vero-Treasure Coast and the Key Clubs in Indian River County, Florida.



On June 13th Kiwanis presented the Indian River Golf Foundation a check in the amount of $500.  Pictured are

Left- Roger Van Dyke, CEO of Indian River Golf Foundation along with Kiwanis President Kevin Brown and Kiwanis Golf Chair Matt Hamilton.  Indian River Golf Foundation introduces youth to the benefits of golf and lifelong learning skills.

Special Recognition to Al Sammartino for organizing the recent Pancake Breakfast to raise funds for the Haiti trip.

On Saturday, May 5th Kiwanis members along with Key Club and youth volunteers participated in an island clean-up along the Indian River in Vero Beach.  This represents another example of Kiwanis helping to engage youth in meaningful volunteer opportunities throughout the year.  The Kiwanis Youth in Action Project is lead by Richard Schlitt and Al Sammartino, both longtime Kiwanis members.  Pictured below are Kiwanis members and teens involved in the clean-up.  Special thanks to all.

Eighty members of the Kiwanis Youth in Action (KYIA) recently swooped down on a number of households and locations in Vero Beach. Assisted by 20 Kiwanis club members, they painted three homes and added a handicap access ramp to a fourth, quickly and efficiently changing those locations for the better and improving the lives of the people living there.

Proudly powered by WordPress