Spring Hill
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How Barney’s Kid Came To Be At Kiwanis Club Spring Hill

By Dr. Stanley J. Antonoff

Thirty in school year 2008-2009, almost as many the year before is the number of Hernando County public school students identified with inappropriate uniforms or without socks or long pants needed in cold weather. Additionally, some children wore shoes much too small for their foot size and others were without underwear.

When this came to the attention of nursing supervisors Ann Faith and Janet Dick, they were appalled. After obtaining clearance from the appropriate county and state agencies, they established a program to help alleviate the plight of these children.

Through donations from the community and Kiwanis, they were able to help these unfortunate kids. A child attending school improperly clothed is under severe psychological assault even though insufficient family finance is not their fault. Feelings of inadequacy often lead to self-esteem issues which can affect learning.

In this program, known as “Barney’s Kids,” no cash is given to the nurses or parents.  All purchases are made using vouchers purchased from Walmart or Target.  these vouchers are never give to parents for left over money might be used to buy cigarettes or alcohol.  The nurses buy the necessary clothing and any remainder is used for subsequent purchases.  School personnel identify these children by nothing their lack of appropriate clothing.

Ultimately, the school social worker corroborates the need.  On one occasion, a child was discovered wearing shoes two sizes too small.  His toes were curled under his feet causing his gait to differ from the other children which attracted the attention of a teacher.  He was provided with proper sized shoes and when walked in these for the first time exclaimed, “Wow! There’s no pain when I walk.”

Where does Spring Hill Kiwanis fit in this rewarding endeavor?  Barney Mancuso was a fifty-two year Kiwanian and a member of the Spring Hill Kiwanis for five years.  Before he passed, Barney on many occasions professed his desire to help kids.  This was his passion and the reason for his longstanding membership in Kiwanis.

Because of the exemplary good will created by Barney coupled with his love of children, the Spring Hill Kiwanis Board of Directors, under the leadership of 2009-2010 President Beverly Reso selected “Barney’s Kids” as its premier charity and dedicated a major portion of its fund-raising efforts to this project.  It is Spring Hill Kiwanis’ way of supporting the children of Hernando County, as well as, saluting Barney Mancuso and his dedication to children and humanity.