Tour de Pier Recap

Steve, Stan, and Mike with volunteers from the Mira Costa Key Club at the Kiwanis Bike and Stroller Valet at Tour de Pier in Manhattan Beach.

Steve, Stan, and Mike with volunteers from the Mira Costa Key Club at the Kiwanis Bike and Stroller Valet at Tour de Pier in Manhattan Beach.

On Sunday, May 21st, the Manhattan Beach Kiwanis Club, with help from our friends at the Mira Costa Key Club, manned the bike and stroller valet at Tour de Pier. Tour de Pier is an event at which hundreds of people gather at one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, the Manhattan Beach Pier, and ride stationary bicycles in shifts to raise money for cancer research. It's a quirky and fun and wonderful event that is very indicative of Manhattan Beach in so many ways. 

Many of the folks who ride can't get enough of cycling! Not only do they ride to raise money but they ride to the event on their own bikes. That's where Kiwanis comes in! In the true spirit of community service, we provide a secure location for bikes, strollers, skateboards, and more free of charge. This service keeps bicycles off of lampposts, fences, and storefronts where they get in the way and makes it easier for folks to get to the event without having to worry about where to park.

It's a humble service that we provide but it's one that we think adds a lot of value to a fantastic event. We couldn't do it without the support of the community and without the extra help from the Key Clubbers. Thanks to all of you who participated in the event! 


Kiwaniscoop: 5/8/17

From left to right: Guest Kathleen Terry, President Steve Carvel, Past President DeAnn Flores Chase, and guest Patricia Jones from PS I Love You

From left to right: Guest Kathleen Terry, President Steve Carvel, Past President DeAnn Flores Chase, and guest Patricia Jones from PS I Love You

The meeting began a little late but with a bang. At 6:10pm, Yours Truly led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a pretty darn good rendition of the Star Spangled Banner led by Jeff Wilson. Despite a few sour notes, the group did ol’ Francis Scott Key proud!

Guests were then introduced, beginning with Lawrence Martin from the El Segundo chapter who also happens to be our current Lt Governor. Lawrence delivered a strong message regarding increasing membership, noting that it’s the life blood for our causes. Lawrence asked that we all keep an eye on the Division 19 newsletter, which includes a letter from him in every issue. Lawrence reminded that we’re more powerful together, so please think about getting membership up so that our power to do good in the community can grow with it.

Lawrence then invited Jim Thompson the Lomita chapter to say a few words. Jim has been active in both Kiwanis and Key Club. Jim, our Lt Governor Elect, then addressed the room reminding us to get our elections for next term done. He also stressed the importance of growing our membership, so let’s get it together people! What do we want? More members! When do we want them? NOW!

DeAnn then gave a report about the toy drive for the LA Toy Loan Program. You can read all about it here! We got some help from Key Club and filled up the truck. Great work, everyone!

Steve then reminded everyone to sign up for the Older Adult Health Fair, where Kiwanis will be helping with parking assistance and filling our applications. There are still slots for volunteers, so please sign up right away!

Steve then asked Stan for an update on the Comedy & Magic Club event and Stan reminded us that we need to not only sell the ticket but also to call in the reservation. Steve threatened Stan with a fine for insubordination but Stan stood resolute in defiance… or he didn’t hear him, it’s hard to tell with Stan.

We then welcomed our guest, Patricia Jones, representing the PS I Love You Foundation. Patricia began working with PS I Love You after having an interaction with a less fortunate family whose sheer goodness despite their adversity inspired her to get more involved. “PS I Love You” came from a loving note that Patricia’s mom would place in her lunch bag every day when she was growing up. The mission is to teach kids to be conscious, confident, curious, and compassionate. By creating a safe place in the classroom to discuss and learn, PS I Love You reaches about 1,500 kids per year with this mission but the demand is higher than the supply of volunteers.

After about 15 minutes of several poorly trained adults trying their best, we were able to then present Patricia's video about the program. The video reminded us all that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you respond do it. If this message touches you, please consider volunteering at PS I Love You's "Day at the Beach" on July 29th.

Steve ended the meeting showing updated information from Leadership Manhattan Beach's plans to help revamp Kiwanis Santa Float. The complete, ground up rebuild was inspired by local architecture, historical photos, and our beloved beach lifestyle. The new design looks amazing and we couldn't be more excited about launching with our brand new float!

Thank you all who came to the Kiwanis meeting this month. For those who didn't I hope you enjoyed the Scoop! Don't forget to volunteer!

Toy Drive Recap

The 6th Annual Toy Drive for the LA County Toy Loan program was a big success! We filled the truck up to the brim before we ran out of time. Kiwanis would like to give a big thanks to the volunteers from LA County and the Mira Costa Key Club who helped with collection.

We'd also like to express our gratitude to the members of the Manhattan Beach community who were so generous with their time and their toys. They're going to many, many great homes! Without an engaged and selfless community, programs like this couldn't exist.

We'll see you next year!

6th Annual Toy Drive

Please come join us on Saturday, April 29th at the Mira Costa High School parking lot in front of the administration building to donate your new and gently used toys. While many organizations won't accept anything but new toys, the LA County Toy Loan program does! If you would like to do a good deed or just clean out your closet, this is the event for you!

The LA County Toy Loan program acts as a library for kids who come from situations of less affluence. Their families may not be able afford toys for their kids but the Toy Loan program allows children to check toys out and borrow them for a period of time. When a child returns his or her toys consistently, he or she can pick one to keep! It's a wonderful program that brings a lot of happiness to kids just a few minutes down the road in LA. 

We look forward to your support!

Kiwaniscoop: 3/13/17

President Elect Peter Yollin took the gavel from President Steve for today's meeting. Steve was unable to join and Peter was eager to show him up in his absence. I joined the meeting late and despite my attempt to sneak in during the Pledge of Allegiance, Peter caught me a fairly but sternly fined me $1. 

We welcomed a guest, Suzanne, from Leadership Manhattan Beach. She is an active member of the LMB group and was welcomed resoundingly to our humble meeting. 

LMB has a ticketed event this year and the beneficiary is the Manhattan Beach Santa Float. Peter stressed the importance of joining the fundraiser, which will be an auction and party at the Bo Bridges Gallery on Thursday, March 16th. That's only three days from now!

Furthermore, we are all invited to go to the Leadership MB class on the night of March 27th from 6:20pm to 6:50pm at Manhattan Beach Public Works to learn more about the LMB plans for the Santa Float. Mark your calendars and show some solidarity with our brethren and sistren at LMB!

Stan then gave a Toy Drive update. DeAnn, who was unable to make it tonight, has been working directly with the Toy Loan Program to find a date. We've had difficulty pinning down a date that works for the Toy Loan folks, the school, and for us. We hope to have a date ready to announce by the end of the week.

Peter then reminded that we will be doing bike and stroller valet for the Tour de Pier on Sunday, May 21, 2017. Shifts will start at 6:45am, so take it easy on the wine (or, in my case, craft beer) the night before! Peter decreed that we will be scheduling shifts at the April Kiwanis meeting. 

Stan then gave us an update on the Comedy & Magic Club event. We are planning to hold it on Wednesday, May 31st. Stan reminded that not only do we need to sell tickets but we need to collect a silly amount of information such as names, phone numbers and email addresses of the attendees. The Comedy & Magic Club is very particular and only makes money when people show up, so attendance is very important for those who buy tickets. Peter suggested that we think about doing the event on EventBright but Stan wasn't really hearing it. To clarify, this wasn't a hearing aid issue.

With no other new business, Peter opened the floor up to happy and sad dollars:

  • Stan: One sad dollar for having to give Misty two dollars because she didn't have any dollars to put in. 
  • Cindy: One sad dollar on Steve's tab because she had to leave early.
  • Tina: Two sad dollars. She was forced to leave an organization she loves. Two happy dollars. The judge ruled in her favor!
  • Mike (me): Five happy/sad dollars. Going on vacation (happy!) but it's in Philly (sad!). Mother-in-Law is coming in (happy!) but her flight is canceled (sad!). Things are up in the air (or, more accurately, very little is in the air).
  • Peter: Four sad dollars that he didn't want to go into. One happy dollar, though, for being happy to still be here with us!
  • Rick: Happy dollar for heading off to New Orleans. Sad dollars for the passing of a close friend and the passing of man's best friend. 
  • Misty: Happy dollar for using Stan's money. Happy dollar for her husband coming back into town tomorrow!

There was a quick announcement about an upcoming luncheon for Mychal's Learning Place. The luncheon is coming up and Kiwanis has ten tickets for ten lucky members!

Stan then regaled the members with an oldie but a goodie: the story of the time Rick got on the wrong plane and ended up in the wrong city. I've heard that story a thousand times but it's still good on the thousand and first time! How does someone even get on the wrong plane? Rick found a way.

With nothing left to discuss, Peter adjourned the meeting early at 6:40pm, a new record! Peter definitely showed that he's ready to take the mantle should Steve ever show weakness. 

Kiwaniscoop: 2/21/17

The Kiwaniscoop is a longstanding tradition to keep members and well wishers informed of our actions and antics.

The meeting began quasi-promptly five minutes after our 6pm start time at Barsha Wine & Spirits. Jeff Wilson led us in the Pledge of Allegiance as always, however, soon thereafter, President Steve Carvel threw a major curve ball: we jumped into an ad hoc Board Meeting!

The business discussed at the emergency session of the Board Meeting was: should the Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach take control over the upcoming new version of the Manhattan Beach Santa Float. Much time was spent figuring out what our real name was--do we use "Club?" do we have an "Inc" at the end?--but after we settled on our official name, we discussed the pros and cons.

Pros: We would be able to continue our improvement of the management of the float and overseeing of the Santa Float website with more discretion and official recognition.

Cons: There may be additional liability.

The motion was passed unanimously including a vote from Larry Mitchell who added to growing national concerns over voter fraud by voting in a Board Meeting in which he is not a member of the Board.

Stan then announced that we're bringing back the raffle! This was not a motion; this was happening, like it or not. Stan went around the table giving out raffle tickets and collecting $2 from each member. It was unclear whether or not a raffle prize existed but there was something about Stan's determination that made questioning him seem unwise.

Steve then introduced our two guests: Melanie from Mychal's Learning Place and former Lt Governor, Jackie Acosta, who is here to talk about the Kiwanis Club of Carson's upcoming raffle.

Melanie then treated us a wonderful speech about the history of Mychal's and its role in the community. The focus of Mychal's is helping young adults with autism and learning disabilities to cope with the realities of everyday living. All of the things that many adults take for granted, the good folks at Mychal's take the time to help out those for whom it can be an ongoing challenge. The end goal is finding jobs for these amazing individuals.

Melanie also let us know about an exciting upcoming event, Mychal's Annual Luncheon and Auction. The event is on May 13, 2017 from 11:30 am - 3:00 pm at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. The Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach sponsored a table of ten last year and will decide whether to sponsor again this year at the next Board Meeting. Melanie confirmed that we were both the nicest and the first organization that she has spoken to since joining the Mychal's team.

Jackie Acosta then passed out a few forms from the Kiwanis Club of Carson. Their St. Patrick's Day raffle is coming up and it's their largest fundraiser of the year. Jackie reminded us that the Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach has traditionally done very well in the raffle, which made purchasing seem like a smarter bet. Between the entire table, enough cash was on hand to support this great cause (and hopefully win some money!).

Jackie invited us to join Carson for an inter-club meeting but Steve let Jackie know that our last inter-club didn't go so well. The Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach's notorious sticky fingers found their way to El Segundo's bell and the standoff was as contentious as it was hilarious. Jackie confirmed that Manhattan Beach was in the right and that it is a longstanding tradition in Kiwanis to teach proper bell security by stealing bells at every possible opportunity.

Jackie then went over her 2016 transparency report. Surely, a woman so principled as to share such detail was correct over her bell stealing recommendation. Long live the greatest LTG in Division 19 history!

Steve made a motion to approve the already spent 2016 budget. Michael Block seconded and then it was brought to our attention that there's no need to approve budgets from the previous year. Intentions seemed to be in the right place.

DeAnn then gave us a short update on the upcoming Toy Drive. The Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach has sponsored the LA Toy Loan program for years. This program acts as a library for toys for children in less affluent areas of LA County who may not otherwise have access. Families from the South Bay round up their new and gently used toys and donate them to this great program. We help facilitate the donation process at Mira Costa High School. We are finalizing a date for either March or April.

Steve then realized that the gavel was missing and went ballistic, making wild accusations of our most trusted members and even of our guest. Cindy and Melanie made their exit amidst the chaos. Things calmed down as Rick Block introduced additional confusion about Larry's wine bill. Sometimes, meeting confusion with more confusion can calm things down.

Steve then moved on to his topic of expertise: the Santa Float. Currently, Leadership Manhattan Beach is moving forward with renovating the float as their annual project for community enrichment. This project should yield a new, updated float of which we can all be even prouder. We're looking forward to a fantastic partnership with LMB. Donations can be made on their website. There was a bit of discussion around how many reindeer should be on the float. Jeff suggested twelve reindeer but was promptly berated by the group who preferred the more traditional "eight plus Rudolph" model.

Our President, Steve, then read aloud the entirety of a Beach Reporter article highlighting the exhaustive efforts of the Kiwanis Club of Manhattan Beach, LMB, and, of course, Steve himself (editor's note: Steve works his butt off, so we let him finish without giving him too much grief). Larry tried asking a question but was rebuked by the determined President. Misty made a similar attempt but cut through Steve's challenge, overruling his overruling. The fact that she had words of support for Steve's push to use the local love of the Santa Float to drive up membership no doubt helped her case.

The LMB fundraiser will be an auction and party at the Bo Bridges Gallery on Thursday, March 16th. We encourage everyone to show!

The night ended with the long awaited raffle. The door prize, a nice bottle of wine, was won by Misty, who accumulated all of Cindy and Melanie's tickets in the commotion of their early exit. The fine free ticket was won by... well, we'll find out next month!

Steve offered $20 to the Gavel Gods and they smiled up on. His gavel returned safely moments later. Jeff gave five happy dollars and regaled us with a story of his intrepid trip to Uganda where he lived among the chimpanzees. It wasn't until the final day of the trip that the chimpanzees realize that Jeff wasn't one of them. Steve gave five more happy dollars for the wonderful press that we received in the Beach Reporter

Thanks for reading the Kiwaniscoop! See you next month!



The Santa Float Rides Again!

Last night, we kicked off a hallowed annual tradition, the Manhattan Beach Santa Float! The float went out for almost four hours last night on its first route, visiting hundreds of families in Manhattan Beach.

If you're a longtime Manhattan Beach resident, you know that the Float has been a tradition since the 1950s and you've eagerly awaited its arrival this holiday season. If you're new to the city, please check out the website and go to the Routes Page to find out when we'll be in your neighborhood. On the night that we're nearby, check out the Santa Tracker, which follows Santa's progress through the city in real time.

All routes begin at 4:45pm and we try to get to as many houses as we can. If we're a little early or a little late, we apologize. We're staffed by volunteers and we try to make the experience great for the kids, so we're not always perfect when it comes to timing.

Thank you to all of you who come out and participate! See you on the sleigh!

Welcome to Our New Officers

Monday, September 11th, we proudly installed our new officers at our monthly meeting at Tin Roof Bistro. A big congratulations to:

  • President: Steve Carvel
  • President-Elect: Peter Yollin
  • Vice President: Misty Frasier
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Rick Block
  • Past President: Michael Block
  • Directors:
    • Cindy Carvel
    • DeAnn Flores Chase
    • Stan Ralls
    • Jeff Wilson
    • Tina Patel who is serving as an officer for her first time!

We're so proud to have all of you! To put a name to a face, please visit our Who We Are page on the site. 

Santa in September Big Success

We were so happy to have hosted Santa in September in Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach on Sunday, September 4th. We helped over one thousand children visit Santa a little early and gave parents an opportunity to take photos in a beautiful setting with plenty of time to put them on their holiday cards for 2016. 

If you were at the Santa in September event and would like to obtain your photos, please contact us at For several reasons, we will not post photos of children's faces online but we are happy to try and connect you with the photos offline. If you have any other feedback for us about the event, please don't hesitate to reach out!

As always, it was a pleasure serving the city of Manhattan Beach!

Santa in September

We are extremely excited to announce an upcoming event at Polliwog Park that we're calling "Santa in September!" On Sunday, September 4th, the Santa Float will be at Polliwog Park beginning at 3pm. Come for Santa but stay for the concert! Beatles tribute band, Britain's Finest, will be performing as part of the Manhattan Beach Concerts in the Park series.

We hope that everyone in Manhattan Beach will come out to take family photos with Santa, perfect for your holiday greeting cards!