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Creativity helps Kiwanis serve Roswell

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Laurie Schotz (Submitted Photo)

Laurie Schotz brought her never-ending menu of creative skills to the Land of Enchantment after traveling across America.

A native of Ohio, Schotz spoke about her career path.

“I spent 30-plus years performing all across the U.S., as well as on cruise ships. I was a singer, dancer, actor, stuntwoman, and was able to move progressively up the ladder through writing, casting, directing and programming for a variety of companies. It was after I completed a contract with the Warsaw Performing Arts Center in Indiana that my next pursuit became moving to the West. I interviewed here, at Artesia Arts Council.”

Beginning as a Kiwanis member in Indiana — which Schotz refers to as “The Mother Ship” — back in March 2011, she says she transferred to Roswell in February 2016.

“In Indiana, I joined the Kiwanis group in 2011, and when I moved to this area, I chose to attend the group in Roswell.”

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Kiwanis Club of Roswell, established in 1921, is part of an international community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to changing lives for the better. Using the creativity club President-Elect Schotz brings, members work together and find imaginative ways to serve the needs of the community, such as raising money for food drives and luncheons, improving literacy with children’s reading programs and offering guidance to kids.

Kiwanis members also raise money to support service projects, such as building playgrounds, stocking school supplies and providing scholarships.

They work with other nonprofits as well, like From Forgotten to Forever Pet Rescue, and they also keep up a program called “Key Club,” in which students volunteer in the community doing service projects.

The local Kiwanis Club will reach a milestone at the beginning of next year.

“We’re currently quite excited because Roswell, New Mexico Kiwanis will be celebrating 100 years this coming January,” Schotz said. “The club needed a president this year (2019-20) so Barbara Gomez could be president during our celebration year. I stepped up for the role because I felt like I could contribute to the 2019-20 fundraising events and projects to benefit our anniversary project — an all-inclusive park for the children of Roswell.”

In regard to the difficult time groups and organizations are going through when it comes to the pandemic — attempting to still raise funds, hold events, bring in new members and keep their groups active in the community — Schotz said alterations have been necessary.

“During this time, board members are calling three to four members of Kiwanis each week to check in and communicate,” she said. “We want to make sure that we can help with any needs out there. We have held Zoom board meetings instead of face-to-face because of the pandemic, and next month, a live Zoom will be offered.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising has been approached in a different way.

“We changed our fundraisers to virtual events, such as holding a 5K virtual run on Labor Day weekend, and we are currently raising funds by selling Double Good popcorn,” Schotz said. “And, you’ll see soon, we are working on a pancake event with a whole new twist, so there’s no need to worry about that.”

Kiwanis Club’s community service has actually been able to increase this year.

“Because COVID forced us to create outside the box,” she said, “for example, we sent over 100 cards to nursing homes, and put together personal packs of hygiene products to share with the members of the community who need them. We also were able to hold an internal fundraiser to help The Salvation Army with their food pantry early on in the COVID crisis.”

Kiwanis members are also looking to the future.

“Our calendar is being set with a lot of flexibility,” Schotz said. “Some of the events will remain, such as bell ringing for The Salvation Army during the holidays. But now you get to look forward to a ‘dive-thru’ meal that you can pick up and enjoy at home. In addition, don’t forget about signing up for the Sugar Skull 5K Run being held Oct. 23-25. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun!”

The fun won’t end there. Schotz spoke about also working on a possible virtual All Civic Luncheon in order to recognize fellow members and clubs in Roswell.

“In addition, we will soon have our coin cans at local restaurants so the community can contribute to the Park Project … But since there is a coin shortage, feel free to just put in paper money,” Schotz said.

Before 2020 comes to a close, Kiwanis of Roswell will choose a family in need and supply them with holiday gifts and goodies — a new tradition, Schotz said, that began in 2019.

“It stemmed from bringing together our ‘Key Clubs’ (high school-level teens), and ‘Circle K’ (our college kiddos), with our club for Thanksgiving. Although the process will work completely different this year, it will still definitely take place,” she said.

Schotz wants the community to know that, above all, “Roswell Kiwanians are trying to find the needs in the community and adapt in order to support, contribute and bring joy to this unique journey we’re all experiencing.”

Growing in membership by 10% in 2019-20, Schotz expanded on the club’s continued success.

“We’ve been active internally and externally within the area, with community outreach up 25%,” she said. “Our hope is that we can continue to do this as we raise funds for the Park Project, and encourage others to join us in these activities to better and strengthen the lives of our friends and neighbors.”

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