How did you start with charity organizations and getting involved in the community?
My mother was very involved in the community, she passed away 20 years ago. She was President of the District 30 school board, served on Community Board 1, worked with the Hellenic Federation, and with P.S 17, where my sister and I both went. They have an auditorium named after her there, as well as a portrait of her. That instilled in me to get involved, and it’s the reason I got involved in the LaGuardia Circle K, and started the Hunter Circle K. I met my wife through Circle K as well, she was in the New Paltz Circle K.
Tell us about the Astoria Kiwanis.
It’s been around for 27 years, and my wife and I have been members for five years. Our biggest project is the holiday auction at the end of the year, and the funds we raise from that usually last us all year. We also use the funds for things like scholarships. Wi give out scholarships to six different high schools, to students that are involved in community service. Most recently we gave $500 to a student at William C. Bryant High School, with an additional $500 for being distinguished in community service. We also give out a community service scholarship named after my mother, the Julia Pappas Community Service Scholarship. What’s the most rewarding part of being so involved? Working with the youth. Coming from Circle K, a lot of Astoria Kiwanis members didn’t even know it existed. They didn’t know about sponsored leadership programs. After I left Circle K at Hunter, the club died down for a little, and when they needed a sponsor, we picked them up. I have the experience from being in Circle K, and I was able to use that to guide the students. I went to a District Convention for Circle K, and a week prior, the New Paltz club’s advisor, who was supposed to be one of the honoree’s, had passed away. To hear all the stories of the way she influenced all the kids really affected me, and made me want to affect students the same way. I want to be able to look back and say, “Hey, I’ve influenced these kids’ lives – for the better.” My mother firmly believed the children were out future, and I really believe in that as well. Circle K gives them an outlet.The Hunter Circle K at last year’s Night Out Against Crime
How can someone join Kiwanis?
If someone is interested, they can attend three meetings, and then they get sponsored by a member. They can also get more information at .