The Kiwanis Conference of Western PA was first organized in 1953. Membership in the Conference is open to all Kiwanis clubs located in western PA and those areas served by the Western PA School for Blind Children. The purpose of this organization is to raise funds and provide service and aid to the students of the School. During our existence, we have presented the School with over $600,000.
The Western PA School for Blind Children is an approved private school with programs available, without charge, to legally blind children who have additional serious physical and cognitive disabilities, from the thirty-three counties of western Pennsylvania. Children are admitted up through the age of twenty-one, without regard to race or religion. Founded in 1887, the School is a non-profit organization and derives its funds from endowment income, partial state and federal support and vitally necessary contributions from individuals and groups.
The student body is comprised of children from as far away as State College. They spend five days per week at the School. All students spend the weekend at home with their families. On Friday afternoon, approximately ninety units of travel (cars, vans and buses) enter the Porte Cohere (carriage entrance) and, under cover, load up the students for their trip home. The Porte Cohere was a commitment of the Kiwanis Conference and a large plaque has been installed at the entrance.
The Conference currently raises funds from three major sources:
- Dues paid by member clubs, these dues are currently $200 per year.
- Donations made by clubs at the annual Conference banquet.
- The Rudolph Hoffman Golf Tournament held annually at the Ponderosa Golf Club in Franklin Springs, PA. For over thirty years the Heinlein family has make their golf course facilities available to Rudy Hoffman and the Conference to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. All of these efforts have benefited the Western PA School for Blind Children.