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Midvale Journal

New Kiwanis Club of the Canyons formed to serve youth in Midvale and vicinity

Jun 19, 2019 04:00PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

Members of Kiwanis Club of the Canyons meet at noon every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at Midvale City Hall. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

Kiwanis has had a long history in Midvale. It formed in the early 20th century and began organizing Harvest Days in 1938. But membership dwindled and the club disbanded several years ago.

But there still remained a need for a charitable association where individuals and organizations in Midvale could work together to help the community.

Kiwanis Club of the Canyons formed in February of this year to enhance, enrich and improve the lives of children and youth in Midvale, Sandy, Murray and surrounding communities. The main activities undertaken by the club include community service projects, partnerships with area schools and organizations and fundraising events.

The club currently has 15 members and hopes to keep growing. Current members include individuals, representatives from local businesses, nonprofits and the Canyons School District, as well as the mayor of Midvale and chief of police.

A charter membership is $100 per year and can be held by a corporation or an individual.

“We are small but mighty. We have members who can network and bring resources together,” said Laura Magness, president of Kiwanis Club of the Canyons. “We’ve gotten so much done in such a small amount of time.”

Laura Magness, president of Kiwanis Club of the Canyons, places flyers for a club fundraiser at the Midvale Senior Center. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)


Magness came to Midvale two years ago and was surprised by the relative lack of service groups. “We have a Rotary Club that is also small and mighty, but I was excited to hear that a new Kiwanis Club was being formed. Midvale doesn’t have a chamber of commerce, so the Kiwanis Club is a great way for businesses and nonprofits to network and work together to help the community.”

Magness, who is also the communications specialist for Midvale City, grew up with Kiwanis. Her mother, Loretta High, was deeply involved with the California/Nevada division of the club. 

“My fondest memories of my mom are of her doing volunteer work. She was very involved in organizing community events,” Magness said. “I love small towns and community pride, and I’ve found that here in Midvale.”

Kiwanis International has been around since 1915 and currently comprises nearly 558,000 adult and youth members in 82 nations and geographic areas. Nearby communities have chapters, but the regional office saw a need and interest in reviving a group in Midvale to focus on serving at-risk, underserved youth. Hillcrest High already receives support from the Sugarhouse Kiwanis Club, so Kiwanis Club of the Canyons plans to work with Diamond Ridge High School, an alternative high school located in Sandy. Club of the Canyons also plans to build youth clubs in nearby elementary and junior high schools.

Jeff Hymas attended a recent meeting on behalf of Savage, an international transportation and logistics company whose headquarters are in Midvale. 

“Savage has been involved with the United Way and other community involvement projects and saw the new Kiwanis Club as a way to become more involved,” Hymas said. “And we hope we can get other businesses involved.”

The club’s first major fundraising event is a joint effort with LUNAFEST, an international showcase of female directors. The evening will feature eight short films selected by LUNAFEST and one film made by a local female director to be selected by a panel of judges determined by Kiwanis of the Canyons.

“The films are short, but they are powerful and creative,” said Tammy Ross, owner of Midvale Main Street Theatre, where the fundraiser will take place. “[The films] are about situations women find themselves in all around the world, and their inner strength to deal with challenges that particularly affect women.”

The films will be screened on Friday, July 12, at Midvale Main Street Theatre (7711 S. Main Street). The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a VIP reception with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beverages, cash bar and silent auction. The films will be screened from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets ($30 for the VIP reception and screening; $20 for general admission after the reception) are available for purchase online at

The club hopes this event will raise at least $3,000 for their newly-formed JoAnn Seghini Scholarship Fund. The scholarships will go to females graduating from high school who are pursuing secondary education in male-dominated fields. 

“JoAnn is so excited and plans to be there at the film screening,” Magness said.