Young Children Priority One (YCPO)

Serving children, families, and communities

Young Children Priority One (YCPO) is an ongoing community service program of Kiwanis International that addresses the needs of early childhood (pregnancy to age five). All clubs are encouraged to carry out at least two YCPO projects per calendar year, though many clubs are able to do more.

Maternal & Child Health

Child care & development

Parent education & support

Safety & pediatric trauma

How did it begin?

From 1990-1991, Dr. Wil Blechman served as the President of Kiwanis International. Dr. Wil spent his life dedicated to medicine, but Rachel Blechman, his amazing wife, influenced and fueled Dr. Wil’s passion for early childhood. Rachel’s college background and ongoing interest in early child development inspired Dr. Wil to craft and ignite a new worldwide program focusing on these critical years. This initiative is called Young Children Priority One!

Why early childhood development matters

The early emotional, physical, and social development of young children directly affects their overall growth and will ultimately become an influential factor in the adult they become. This alone makes it extremely critical to invest time, energy, and resources in order to encourage young children and develop successful future leaders.

Projects for Kiwanis clubs & divisions

  • Weekly in-person or zoom reading for young children
  • Book drive for a class or school
  • Diaper party for families in need
  • Car seat education workshops
  • Hosting in-person and virtual education seminars for Kiwanians and/or the general public about the crucial importance of early development and its influence on the future success of children
  • Supporting a mobile dental clinic for children in low-income areas
  • Providing support to families of young children with information and resources for parenting, health maintenance, and/or nutrition
  • Developing and/or maintaining playgrounds
  • Santa Claus programs providing a live Santa and presents for communities

Learn more about Young Children Priority One

Watch our Jubilee Webinar Series or Meet and Greets online. Or join us for the upcoming Meet and Greets! Learn dates and times on Facebook!

Interested in speaking about an early childhood topic? Please email us

YCPO Guide

Download your YCPO Guide today! This guide provides a program overview, program purpose, funding opportunities, and more.

Early childhood worksheets

(Free Downloadables)

Educational worksheets courtesy of the Florida Kiwanis Foundation.

Is there funding for Young Children Priority One Projects?

Yes! The Florida Kiwanis Foundation proudly offers Wil and Rachel Blechman Grants for Florida Kiwanis Clubs and Divisions. Grants from this fund support Kiwanis projects that will have a significant impact on children in the 0-5 age group based upon identified needs. Learn more below.

Learn more about grantsMake a gift

2024 Golf Tournament

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