Welcome to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown Established March 12, 1946

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

Baytown Kiwanis Club


We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Luna's Mexican Restaurant
730 W Cedar Bayou Lynchburg Rd
Baytown, TX  77521
United States of America
Kiwanis International
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Kiwanis members Harvey Oyler, Judy Jirrels, and Jan Heinlein were on hand to present bicycles to students from Alamo Elementary for perfect attendance. Each year Kiwanis donates two bikes per grade level as an incentive for students to attend school every day.

Library summer reading presented at Kiwanis Club of Baytown

Lesley Kohles, an assistant director librarian at the Sterling Municipal Library, spoke about the library’s programs and services to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown. Kohles said the library’s Summer Reading Program is ongoing through July 31. 

Kohles said the library checks out about 75,000 books per year. They have traditional books and books in large print. There are also two digital resource libraries. Plus, curbside service is available. If you call ahead of time, park in Spot A or Spot B, they will bring books out to you. In addition, there is also a delivery program where they bring the library to you. Kohles said it is available to anyone in Baytown. If you want to research your family history, Kohles noted there is a subscription to Ancestry.com that is available in the library. You can only use it in the library, Kohles said. If you need legal forms valid in the State of Texas, you can use the library’s legal database, Kohles said. They also have a collection of high school yearbooks. In addition, there are full scans of The Baytown Sun at the library as well as The Daily Sun and The Tri-City Sun. 

You can also use the library’s computers, printers and fax machines, but only to send, not receive. If you need a meeting room. Kohles said you can arrange to have one by reservation. For more on what the library has to offer, call them at 281-427-7331. 

The Kiwanis Club of Baytown recently awarded eight local high school students, each with a $2,000 scholarship. This year, Amy Chen, a Goose Creek Memorial High School student, received the Tad Patton Key Club Scholarship. Caden Norris, a Baytown Christian Academy student, received the Pete Sultis Scholarship. Bryleigh Hollomon, a Ross S. Sterling High School student, received the L.A. Wilkie Scholarship. Reagan Bloom, also a GCM student, was the recipient of the John Henderson Scholarship. Ruel Cabading, another GCM student, received the John B. Tucker Scholarship. Jacob Kosteck, a Robert E. Lee High School student, received the Doug Huddle Memorial Scholarship. Melissa Rodriguez, a Sterling High School student, received the Tommie Jones Scholarship. Harsh Agrawal, another GCM student, received the Sally & David Black Key Club Scholarship. Pictured are, from left,  Ruel Cabading, Amy Chen, Reagan Bloom, Bryleigh Hollomon, Caden Norris and Melissa Rodriguez. Not pictured are Jacob Kosteck and Harsh Agrawal.

Kiwanis Club of Baytown honors Sophomores of the Year

At the recent Kiwanis Club of Baytown meeting, seven local students were honored as the 2023 Walter Hurst Sophomore of the Year winners. This is for essays written by the students. 

The winners are, top row, from left, Nicolas Tuha from Ross S. Sterling High School; Nathalie Go Hiong from Stuart Career Tech High School; Archana Sunilkumar from Goose Creek Memorial High School; and Blake Sistos from Robert E. Lee High School. Bottom row, from left, Isabella Ramirez from IMPACT Early College High School; Kobe de la Cruz from Barbers Hill High School; and Laila Hurlbut from the Baytown Christian Academy. In addition to winning the Sophomore of the Year award, de la Cruz was also named the 2023 Kiwanis Club of Baytown Sophomore of the Year. His winning essay was entered into the Kiwanis Division 28 competition and was chosen from the division’s club submissions to advance to Kiwanis Texas/Oklahoma District judging. 

Steve Wavro, a scrollsaw artist, shows one of the many artworks that he created using his intarsia skills to members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown. Wavro has produced unique creations with this technique, making pictures that appear to be in 3-D, such as flying ducks, birds in a tree, deer running through the landscape, wolves, eagles soaring in the sky, and all sorts of other animals. He also creates objects like crosses with images related to Easter. Using various wood sources, such as western red cedar, Wavro can make different wood pieces look like they are a different color, adding flavor to each creation. If you want to purchase one of Wavro’s wood artworks, contact him at steve.wavro@gmail.com

Baytown Police Chief John Stringer visited with members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to share with them how he, detectives and sergeants came up with vision and mission statements for the department. Stringer also discussed how he and his team put together a strategic plan for the police department. 

Among the points in Phase I of the plan are building community partnerships and establishing mental health services for citizens and mental wellness services for officers.

Stringer added that accountability and transparency were part of the plan. In addition, Stronger emphasized how the department has reached out to the Hispanic community more since he came on board in August 2021.

Stringer also said the plan included more outreach through social and traditional media as well as more police visibility within neighborhoods.

In Phase II, which began in January, Stringer said the plan entails publishing police policies online, attending community meetings and leveraging media platforms. Internally, the plan calls for establishing performance management software and “formal mechanisms to give employees greater voice and ownership in the department’s future and development.”

Stringer also wants to build a partnership for a high school outreach program with the police department, including Lee College, and explore more opportunities with Bay Area Council on Drugs & Alcohol.

There are also ongoing oriented policing initiatives, such as the Citizen Police Academy, Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, D.A.R.E., and the Bay Area Ministerial Alliance. Through the Unidos Program, Stringer said they had developed a relationship with the Hispanic community, facilitating two-way communications, focusing on basic quality of life for Hispanic residents, and providing resources.

Danny McWilliams of EasTex K9 Dog Training spoke to members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about how he trains dogs to be obedient and about the E-Collar Quick Connect Bungee Dog Collar. McWilliams, a former police officer, specializes in training dogs how to be family pets and not just backyard animals. He has more than 20 years of experience in dog training and can fit most families’ needs. They accept all dog breeds and sizes. Find out more by calling 281-846-5003 or visiting www.eastexk9.com. Also pictured is Kiwanian Laurie Blackmon. 
Valerie Adame, the treasurer for Our Promise for West Baytown, Inc, The Fred Aguilar Center, or simply The Promise Center,  spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about what the Center offers kids through after-school programs. Adame also said the Center is in need of a new home since the rent is increasing at their current location on 2609-A Market St.
Adame said they have helped many kids find a better path in life, including Juan Sanchez, who runs the Big Pappa’s Smokehouse and More restaurant on Market Street with his brother, Jose. Sanchez took advantage of the Center's boxing after-school program, and all he had to do was his homework. He said going to the Center at age 12 helped to lead him away from a possible life with gangs. 
The Center is always seeking donations. If you want to help the Center find a new home, or donate, contact Adame at 281-424-1501 or email baytownourpromise@gmail.com. You can also visit https://promise-center.square.site.
It was a celebratory day when the Kiwanis Club of Baytown celebrated its 77th birthday at the weekly meeting at Luna’s Mexican Restaurant, 730 W Cedar Bayou Lynchburg Road. The club was established on March 12, 1946. Members that had been a part of the club for five years or more were recognized for their longevity. They each received service pins. Kiwanian Mark Hall, also a Lee College Regent, was presented with a special certificate saying he was installed as a 40-year Legion of Honor member for his 22 years of service in the club. Dr. Jim Bernik was also installed as a Legion of Honor member. Bernik has served the club for 25 years.
The Club’s Assistant Secretary, Al Richard, served as Master of Ceremonies. The club members participated in a raffle drawing, where they received some prizes. Two Kiwanians, Connie Tilton and Harvey Oyler, were honored for being named as finalists for The Baytown Sun Citizen of the Year. Kiwanian Mike Wilson and Gary Englert, also on the Kiwanis Board of Directors, are past Citizens of the Year. Nothing Bundt Cakes provided a special red velvet birthday cake for the occasion. Pictured are, from left, Kiwanian Board of Director Gary Englert and Kiwanian Laurie Blackmon.
Shane Blackmon, left, founder of Blackmon, Inc. Plumbing Services, came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown with Joel Robison, district manager for Viega, a family-owned international manufacturer of plumbing and HVAC products, to display how the plumbing products they use work. At the end of the meeting, the expert plumbers created a bottle opener using some plastic piping and a Viega top. To contact Blackmon, Inc. Plumbing Services, call (281) 427-8325 or email info@blackmonplumbing.com.
Members of the Ross S. Sterling High School ReVeRb Choir came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to sing a few tunes. One of the songs they sang was “ABC” by the Jackson 5. Dylan Fornshell, the choir director, said they have about 12 to 16 members, depending on the year. For more on the choir, visit www.sterlingchoir.com.
Mary Kay Independent Sales Director Kameron Price recently visited with members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about the company and its cosmetic products. Price shared her knowledge of Mary Kay’s skincare, color and clinical solutions merchandise. She also demonstrated how Mary Kay’s Clear Proof Deep-Cleansing Charcoal Mask works on the club’s president-elect Martha Barnett. To find out the latest about Mary Kay products sold by Price, visit www.marykay.com/KPrice.
Chuck Chandler, right, paid a visit to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about the early days of Baytown and his book, “Baytown (Images of America).” The book contains many facts and photos of Baytown origins and the city’s history. Using a slide show presentation, Chandler spoke about the Baytown’s early settlers, and the Goose Creek Oil Fields history and showed maps of a time before Baytown existed and during the days before the 1948 consolidation. Also pictured is Harvey Oyler, the Kiwanis club’s speaker committee chair.
The City of Baytown Public Affairs Director Thomas Reeves spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown members this week about a plan to market the city to wider audiences. The plan entails surveys, using social media, and reaching out to legislators, local petrochemical industries and school districts. In addition, they plan to send the message through the city’s Baytown Voice magazine. The next edition is coming out in March.
In the group photo, pictured are, from left, Kiwanis Club of Baytown member Gary Englert, Reeves, and Kiwanis Club of Baytown President Traci Dillard.
The top apple sellers for the 76th annual Baytown Kiwanis Apple Sale were honored at the Thursday Kiwanis Club of Baytown meeting. Gary Englert was the top apple seller after having sold 62.5 cases of apples. The apple sale helps raise scholarship funds. Pictured are, from left, Connie Tilton, Englert, Renee Rhodes, and Virginia Miller. Not pictured is Jim Wadzinski.
The Kiwanis Club of Baytown also recognized its Apple Committee board members for the 76th annual Baytown Kiwanis Apple Sale. Each was awarded a special apple-themed coffee mug. Pictured are, from left, Blake Cather, Chad Merling, Dave Jirrels, and Martha Barnett.
Randy Hopper, McGrath Real Estate Partners’ vice president of acquisitions and development, recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about the Riceland development happening in Mont Belvieu. Hopper went over some of the histories of the land and what they plan to build there, which includes new homes, recreation buildings, pools, a park system, hiking and biking trails, and a green plaza within a town center.

The Kiwanis Club of Baytown has held its weekly luncheon at Luna's Mexican Restaurant for a long time. This year, the club members decided to pay tribute to the wait staff who work hard to serve the club members and their guests by collecting a special Christmas gift. Club Secretary Renee Rhodes asked the members to contribute every Thursday in December. Rhodes said the wait staff does not receive additional compensation from the management to set up, serve guests and clean up after the meetings. The servers were overjoyed to receive the gift. Pictured are, from left, Rhodes, Luna’s waitress Sofie Thomas, Club President Traci Dillard, and Luna’s waitress Dionicia Gutierrez.

The Goose Creek Memorial High School choir came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to sing some Christmas songs, ushering in a little holiday spirit for the club members. Holly Lewallen, GCM choir director, and Anthony Rodriguez, also a choir director, led the students in various Christmas-themed songs. The songs include “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker,” “That’s Christmas to Me,” “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Candy Cane Lane,” “This Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “Santa Baby,” “Where Are You, Christmas,” and “Making Christmas.”
The Kiwanis Club of Baytown was given an early Christmas present in the form of a musical treat thanks to local students, who performed some holiday songs for the club members.
Brannon Bravo, music teacher at Stephen F. Austin Elementary, brought his students to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to sing a few holiday songs. They sang traditional Christmas tunes such as “Jingle Bells” and also “Snowflake Carol,” which combines the songs “Still, Still, Still” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” together. They also sang “O Tannenbaum,” a German Christmas song. The students finished off their portion of the mini-concert with “We Wish You A Swingin' Holiday.” Bravo was in band at Ross S. Sterling High School, where he graduated in 2017.
Nicholas McMurrey, Goose Creek Memorial High School orchestra director and 1998 Sterling graduate, brought his students to perform a few tunes for the club. The students played songs such as “Coney Island Express” and “Mr. Sandman,” which McMurrey said they changed to a more holiday-friendly version called “Mr. Santa.”
The Kiwanis Club of Baytown spent time with the newest Key Club members at the Stuart Career Tech High School for a glorious meal made by the students at the school’s new Titan Table restaurant. The meal consisted of green salad with vinaigrette, homemade rolls with compound apple butter, roasted chicken with cranberry and thyme, garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and a dessert of their choice: apple, pecan, pumpkin pie or apple cake with walnuts. Pictured are, from left, Traci Dillard, Kiwanis Club of Baytown president; Key Club president Keila Torres; Rudy Patterson, secretary; Natalia Zepeda, vice president; Maria Tenorio; Nathalie Go Hiong, treasurer; Jesus Zepeda, faculty sponsor of SCTHS Key Club, and Kiwanis Club of Baytown secretary Renee Rhodes.
The City of Baytown recently presented the Baytown Kiwanis Club with a proclamation declaring October 22 National Apple Day in recognition of the club’s annual apple sale that is being held now through Nov. 5. Presenting the recognition is Baytown Mayor Brandon Capetillo, center, and Kiwanis members from left to right are Dave Jirrells, Martha Barnett, Chad Merling and Blake Cather. The sale is being held from 12:30 to 5 p.m. daily at Alliance Bible Church, 302 W. Cedar Bayou Lynchburg. Orders can be placed by messaging baytownkiwanis@gmail.com or from any Kiwanis member.
Baytown Police Assistant Chief David Alford recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown members about the latest happenings at the police department. Alford said city council had authorized the department to staff 175 officers, but they currently have 159 on deck. This number includes three soon-to-be-retired officers. Applications to be a Baytown police officer can be submitted online at https://baytown.org/545/Careers-and-Recruiting.
Alford also spoke about the department’s Hispanic community outreach program, UNIDOS, which assists Baytown’s Spanish-speaking residents.
Pictured are, from left, Dave Jirrels, Kiwanis member and program coordinator for the month of October, Alford and Traci Dillard, club president.
New president Traci Dillard "hams it up" with her special guest before she was installed as Kiwanis President for 2023. Traci quickly moved through the ranks of our club leadership since her installation as a new member in 2019. She garnered Rookie of the Year honors that year, then began her advancement to the President role for 2023. Congratulations, Traci. We know this will be one of our best years yet! For more photos from the event, choose the Banquet 2022 link under Photo Albums at the top right section of this home page!
The Lee College Workforce and Community Development Center offer opportunities to learn additional skills, enhance employee abilities and even travel options. 
Jordan Smith, program manager at Lee College, came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to discuss how the college’s Workforce and Community Development Center is active with community education and senior travel. The center offers workforce members the opportunity to learn new skills in areas such as healthcare or industry. They also offer contract training, where employers can send their employees to learn new skills. Smith said the college will help set up classes for employers. But the most fascinating thing Smith talked about was the program’s senior travel, where folks travel within the U.S. or abroad. Lynne Foley started the program and ran it until she retired in 2019. For the latest, visit www.lee.edu/workforce
The club tied up some loose ends on September 29 from our annual Installation Banquet on September 22. 
Board Secretary pins Leia Miller with her Vice President pin. Leia will take the reigns as president in 2024.
Above, Board Members who were not available at the annual banquet were installed by Past Lt. Governor Blake Cather. They are Brent Currie, Marissa Moreno, and Mark Alexander. Below, Club Secretary Renee Rhodes presents the board members with their lapel pins.
New member Roxanne Wyatt holds her certificate of membership while her sponsor Leih Miller looks on.