Former Lieutenant Governor Allen Yergovich installed Erica Beaurline as Vice President at The Peninsula Inn Oct. 2021.
Gulfport Kiwanis via Gulfport Kiwanis Facebook page.
“I don’t know how people afford to have children these days,” Gulfport Kiwanis President, Erica Beaurline, says.
In Pinellas County, the Economic Policy Institute Family Budget Calculator recommends setting aside $1,074 a month for childcare costs for a two-child, two-parent household.
Not everyone has that kind of money. This is why organizations that focus on serving children, like Kiwanis, make a difference.
Gulfport established its first Kiwanis in 2019 with nine members, including President Shannon Turner. In 2020, Marissa Stewart-Dix started her term as president. That’s when current President Erica Beaurline and her wife Marlene joined the club.
“We didn’t really know a lot about Kiwanis,” Beaurline tells The Gabber. “We took a look at the goals of the group, and we thought, ‘Wow. This is something we can really get behind.’”
In March 2021, Beaurline spearheaded Gulfport Kiwanis’ first baby shower project. They partnered with local agencies to locate 40 local families in need, did a lot of fundraising, got a grant through Kiwanis International, and filled backpacks with new baby items for expecting and new mothers.
“We had a day where all the families came in and picked up their backpacks,” Beaurline says, “but we also partnered with a number of organizations that work with expectant mothers and young children. They set up tables in the neighborhood center on 49th Street, and we gave away vouchers for baby seats.”
The event introduced local families to different agencies that could help with their unmet needs. It also gave Beaurline the confidence to step into her first leadership role at Gulfport Kiwanis.
“When I spearheaded the baby shower project, I kind of eased into more of a leadership-type role,” says Beaurline. “And, well, next thing you know I’m the vice president and push comes to shove, here I am now the president.”
As president of Gulfport Kiwanis, Beaurline plans to continue hosting events that help Gulfport families with young kids. They’ll be at LocalShop1’s Shopapalooza in November. In December, they’re running their own version of the Polar Express, with a vehicle decorated for the holidays, and making stops throughout Gulfport where kids can get out and have cookies or prizes.
Next year, they plan to host Feeding Tampa Bay. Beaurline says the Kiwanis plans to turn the baby shower event into an annual thing.
“We’ve just got a lot of stuff going on,” says Beaurline, “And we’re looking of course for partners for charitable contributions, but we’re also looking for volunteers who want to get involved.”
If you’re interested in joining Gulfport Kiwanis contact Beaurline at 305-504-3514 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you own a business that could be a stop at the Polar Express, please reach out to Derrick Dix at email@example.com.
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