Did you know that by going to The Burning of Will Shuster's Zozobra™, you are helping raise money for the children of our community?
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. For more than a century, Kiwanis has created opportunities for children to be curious, safe and healthy regardless of the community in which they live. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe will donate the net proceeds of the 2020 Burn My Gloom campaign to area nonprofits that help make life better for children, and 20% of the proceeds will also be used to help fund The Eliminate Project.
- Through The Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus—a deadly disease that steals the lives of nearly 31,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year.
READ BELOW to learn more about how the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club and Zozobra have been helping children to learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive in their communities.
The year 2020 has presented great challenges all over the world, and the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club is facing the pandemic with a renewed commitment to make something good come out of something bad, namely Zozobra. The 96-year-old tradition took place as scheduled, but without a crowd. Organized by only essential workers who ensured that when Zozobra 2020 went down in flames, he took the entire world's gloom with him.
In view of the safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the 96th Burning of Zozobra had no attendees and was instead televised and streamed on the web for free, making the event equally accessible to grandparents who wanted to watch on TV with their loved ones and millenials who tuned in on their phones as they text each other.
With no ticket sales, however, the Santa Fe Kiwanis had to come up with a new way to raise funds and continue to help the children of the community. The answer? A Burn My Gloom campaign!
For a nominal fee, anyone who wanted to purge themselves of 2020's feelings of sorrows and despair can simply submit their gloomy thoughts online, and Kiwanis printed them out on paper and stuffed them inside Zozobra to burn with him on Friday, September 4, 2020. Even better, those who need to go the extra distance can upload a document or a picture. And those who wanted to share the moment also made the gift of glooms to another –– a family member who needs to let go of anxieties, a friends who has lost a job, or even a first responder who has been experiencing life and death situations and deserves a break. Zozobra has a lot of space for gloom, and Kiwanis even placde the glooms in specific locations within that cavernous character - his head, his left arm, his belly or the place where his heart should be if he had one.
Everyone who participatds in our gloom program has made a difference for children and you can continue that good work by joining your local Kiwanis Club. And if you wish to make an additional donation to the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, your help will be deeply appreciated.
2019 was perfection for the Santa Fe Kiwanis, with the 95th Burning of Zozobra taking place safely and withut a hitch, which made the burning even more exciting! 63,933 danced their heart out to a rockin' 1970s playlist and cheered Zozobra down amidst the most awesome fireworks display ever in Santa Fe. The distribution of funds has been put on hold until after the challenges of Zozobra 2020 and the pandemic have been surmounted.
By contrast, 2018 was quite a challenge for the Santa Fe Kiwanis, with the 94th Burning of Zozobra taking place in between two dramatic storm cells, which made the burning even more exciting! 62,400 cheered Zozobra down despite raindrops, with what was recognized as the most awesome fireworks display ever in Santa Fe.
But the Santa Fe Kiwanis prevailed over Old Man Gloom, and they were able to transfer the net proceeds of Zozobra 2018 to the Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation. After funding our Key Club (teen Kiwanians), paying for current ongoing scholarship commitments, and replenishing the Foundation’s reserves, the Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation had the distinct pleasure of distributing $48,000 in grants to 22 local nonprofits that serve the children of our community.
2018 Zozobra Grants were awarded to the following nonprofit organizations whose mission mirrors that of Kiwanis– to improve the life of the children of our community:
- $5,000 was donated to Esperanza Shelter to support the Seeds of Hope children’s program. All of the children served in this program are either victims of domestic abuse or witnessed domestic abuse. The Seeds of Hope program serves children from ages newborn through age 17.
- $5,000 was granted to St. Elizabeth Shelter to support Casa Familia, providing counseling and case management for children whose families have become homeless and require immediate emergency shelter.
- $5,000 was granted to Cooking with Kids, for their elementary school nutrition program in Santa Fe Public Schools, with the goal of creating life-long healthy eating habits and self-efficacy, serving approximately 75% of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals
- $3,000 was granted to El Camino Real Academy AfterSchool to help support childcare, tutoring, enrichment activities, and hot meals to low-income children.
- $3,000 was granted to El Camino Real Academy to purchase teaching kits appropriate to various developmental levels that students will use to learn robotics, computational thinking, coding & computer science skill
- $2,500 was granted to Wise Fool New Mexico youth initiatives to provide young people ages 6-18 with life-changing experiences in circus arts to develop self- confidence, learn and practice teamwork and mutual respect, develop trust in themselves and others, explore their unique self-expression, and develop belief in their ability to reach their goals in circus and in life.Wise Fool also provides non-competitive physical activity and helps youth develop a positive relationship with their bodies through balance, physical strength, and healthy risk-taking.
- $2,500 was granted to the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association to support critical music education and performance opportunities for youth and provide tuition assistance and accessibility.
- $2,500 was donated to Girls, Inc, for the Bold Futures Mentoring Program to build on Girls Inc.’s belief that mentoring can make a significant difference in girls’ lives. The program provides intensive mentoring for girls ages 9 to 14, who are at risk for involvement in delinquent behaviors and to support the costs of materials and activities that are part of the Bold Futures curriculum.
- $2,000 was granted to the Santa Fe Dreamers Project to help provide free legal services to immigrants and to promote economic empowerment, community development, family unity, and liberation from detention.
- $2,000 was granted to Reel Fathers, Ltd. to support Identity in Ink, a 9-month, in-school partnership with Capital High School that will serve 80 freshmen in their English class. The program invites students to explore the intersection of personal identity and family, with a special emphasis on fathers.
- $2,000 was granted the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding to help support their mission of “changing lives one stride at a time,” accomplished through the organization’s four main programs: Therapeutic Riding Lessons, School Outreach Program, Self-Mastery Program, and the High School Internship Program.
- $2,000 was granted to Feeding Santa Fe, Inc. to help the program distribute up to 900 bags of nutritious food each week, serving as a safety net for the hungry in our community.
- $2,000 was donated to Adaptive Sports of New Mexico, to fund ten Youth Ski/Snowboard Scholarships at Ski Santa Fe and ten Youth Scholarships to attend Santa Fe-area lake, rafting, or climbing events, giving disabled and developmentally challenged Santa Fe youth an opportunity to enjoy outdoor and recreational activities, leading to better physical, mental and emotional health.
- $1,800 was granted to AAUW Tech Trek New Mexico to help fund the cost of the Tech Trek summer STEM Camp for three girls from Santa Fe.
- $1,150 was granted to Unlocked Minds, Inc. to help fund three programs: YO SOY: The Culture of Me; POW: Power of Words; and Unlocked: INSIDE that benefit children and youth from Santa Fe (three priority sites, Francis X. Nava Elementary, Milagro Middle School, and the Youth Diagnostic and Development Center) and to facilitate programming to other schools, institutions, and shelters.
- $1,050 was donated to Bike Santa Fe to help cover the cost of training three Santa Fe Public School teachers as League of American Bicyclists (LAB) League Certified Instructors (LCI).
- $1,000 was granted to Resolve for Project PREPARE, a program that provides violence prevention education to youth in Santa Fe County.
- $1,000 was granted to Girls on the Run Santa Fe to support a curriculum-based third- to fifth-grade program for girls, culminating with a 5K run to foster self-respect, self-confidence, compassionate caring for others, and create positive connections with peers and adults, leading to improvement in physical, social and emotional competence.
- $1,000 was granted to Gerard's House to provide individual sessions for children and parents/caregivers when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
- $1,000 was granted to the City of Santa Fe Fire Department to provide written handouts conveying fire safety information to local families and the general public.
- $1,00 was donated to Assistance Dogs of the West to support the costs of Student Trainer Programs to area youth. ADW’s goals for these programs are two-fold: 1) to train highly-skilled assistance dogs, especially those who will go on to working careers serving children in need; 2) to develop leadership and inspire lifelong community engagement in student trainers, including an understanding of the importance of inclusion of persons with disability.
- $500 was donated to Fathers New Mexico to provide support, resources, and skills to promote healthy and responsible fathering in young families. Fathers New Mexico nurtures connections between the father, the family, and the community to promote self, family, and community health.
2017 was a great year for the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club! Being tapped by the City of Santa Fe to organize and run the Fourth of July celebration in addition to the Annual New Year’s Eve on the Plaza made for satisfying experiences. But the most satisfying production of the year for Santa Fe Kiwanians was the 93rd Annual Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra™, which took place in 2017 on Friday, September 1 and welcomed a record crowd of 60,000+ with an impressive safety record. Why so satisfying? 2017’s record Zozobra resulted in significant rewards for the Kiwanis’ ultimate goal of funding local nonprofits that serve the children of Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation, charged with distribution of the net proceeds from the annual burning of Zozobra, recently announced that Zozobra 2017 was able to fund our Key Club (teen Kiwanians), pay for current ongoing scholarship commitments, replenish the Foundation’s reserves, and make grants to thirteen deserving local organizations whose mission of serving the children and youth of Santa Fe County mirrors Kiwanis’ own goals.
2017 Grants selected for awards include the following:
* $5,000 was donated to Adaptive Sports of New Mexico, which gives disabled and developmentally challenged Santa Fe youth enjoy outdoor activities and recreational opportunities, leading to better physical, mental and emotional health.
* $5,000 was grated to Cooking with Kids, for their elementary school nutrition program in Santa Fe Public Schools, with the goal of creating life-long healthy eating habits and self-efficacy and serving approximately 75% of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals
* $5,000 was donated to Esperanza Shelter to help fund a program designed to help children who have witnessed or directly experienced domestic abuse, which results in short- and long-term behavioral and developmental issues.
- $5,000 was granted to St. Elizabeth Shelter to support the Casa Familia program that to provide counseling and case management for children whose families have become homeless and require immediate emergency shelter.
- $5,000 was donated to Resolve (formerly IMPACT Personal Safety) for Project PREPARE, a program to teach early prevention, bystander-intervention, and de-escalation strategies to Santa Fe children and teens in order to reduce violence in their lives.
- $4,000 was granted to Girls on the Run, a curriculum-based third- to fifth-grade program for girls, culminating with a 5K run, that fosters self-respect, self-confidence, compassionate caring for others, and positive connections with peers and adults and leads to improvement in physical, social and emotional competence.
- $2,500 was donated to Girls, Inc, serving girls 5-18 years old with hands-on activities and lessons that support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning and college preparation, healthy lifestyles, and economic and media literacy.
- $2,500 was granted to Partners in Education to support the ArtWorks program in the Santa Fe Public Schools, which makes the arts (dance, theater, music, visual arts and poetry) more personally meaningful to children through an integrated program of art-making, live performances, museum visits, and inquiry and reflection, all leading to a better understanding of arts culture.
- $2,500 was donated to The Salvation Army $2,500 for the annual “Pack A Pack” backpack program that provides backpacks filled with school supplies for children whose families meet “at or below” poverty guidelines.
- $2,500 was granted to the Santa Fe Dreamers Project to help fund the SDFP Citizenship Project, providing legal representation and a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth who have only known life as Americans.
- $2,500 was granted to the Santa Fe Public Schools Hands-On Heritage Summer Program, a five-week intensive summer learning experience designed to reinforce literacy and numeracy for students grades 4-8 using themes of environment, history and culture unique to northern New Mexico.
- $1,600 was donated to New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence to print large-scale and individual Students Against Gun Violence pledges for students to sign and to print and distribute gun safety brochures to raise awareness about an issue that concern’s children’s safety and well-being.
- $1,000 was granted to El Camino Real Academy for a program to add opaque keyboard covers to the computers in the school’s technology lab, so that students K-8 learn to keyboard efficiently, with the goal of improving their future success in their education and future careers.
While Zozobra himself never cracks a smile, the keepers of his flame, the Santa Fe Kiwanis, are grinning ear-to-ear with the knowledge that the demise of Old Man Gloom has once again made a better life for the children of our Santa Fe community!
- A grant was made to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe/Del Norte to fund a new $40,000 playground at the southside location, addressing the needs of the city's most affordable-housing sector for families. Read more about it here from the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
- A grant of $1,500 was made to the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe to help fund their early childhood education program, answering the 2016 State-of-the-City call by Mayor Gonzales for a community commitment to invest in early childhood education.
- A grant of $2,000 was made to Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe for the March 2016 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp; and Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe was just recognized as one of the 2016 Outstanding Affiliates by Girls. Inc. National.
- A grant of $1,000 was made to Communities in Schools New Mexico, to assist the program's placement of social worker-trained coordinators in schools to assess student needs and provide critical resources for student success.
- A grant of $1,000 was made to Santa Fe Youthworks, to help the program provide life skills, leadership development, job training and experience with environmentally-based work crews and local business apprenticeships.
The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe also performs annual service projects throughout the year in partnership with local entities via these important initiatives:
- The Club annually fields a team for the April Bowl for Kids' Sake.
- The Club mans a annual booth at Santa Fe Community Day on the Plaza.
- The Club hosts an annual Zozobra Night with the Santa Fe Fuego.
- The Club annually mans a booth at National Night Out on the Plaza.
- The Club annually maintains a booth at the Girls, Inc. Arts and Crafts Show on the Plaza.
Since 1964, when artist Will Shuster gave the exclusive rights for Zozobra to the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, the Club has given $1.6 million back to the Santa Fe community in the form of grants, scholarships and a variety of civic improvement projects funded by the net proceeds of Zozobra. While the Burning of Zozobra cherishes its traditional home in its historic downtown location, the Kiwanis Club is committed to serving the entire Santa Fe community, actively seeking opportunities to address the needs of children living in every part of the city.
As keepers of Zozobra's flame, the Santa Fe Kiwanis work diligently to protect and preserve the legacy of creator Will Shuster, and they use the history of the Burning of Zozobra as an educational tool.
The Zozobra Decades Project, launched in 2014, is a tour through the successive decades of Zozobra's existence, which will culminate in a gala 100th anniversary in 2024. Each decade represents a specific historical era as experienced in New Mexico, the U.S.A., and the world, with the entire Zozobra event designed to mirror the art, culture, and history of the decade. 2014 saw the Roaring 20's come to life, 2015 showcased the Depression-era 1930s, and 2016 offered a unique opportunity to focus on the 1940s, a time of world disruption especially resonant today. Zozobra 2017 celebrated the 1950s, and Old Man Gloom's "Father Knows Worst" cardigan sweater was a surprise hit! Zozobra visited the peace-and-love era of the 1960s in 2018, but he was anything but peaceful! 2019 saw Zozobra dressed in his Saturday Night Fever finest with an amazing crowd sing-along to the YMCA song. In 2020, the pandemic took precedence, and the Decades Project was on hiatus.
What will Year Seven of the Decades Project, celebrating the 1980s, bring to the City Different? You'll have to wait until Friday, September 3, 2021 to find out!