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Local service club to skydive for children
Kiwanis Club of Turlock member Verna Riopel skydives in Acampo, Calif. in May. Riopel, along with a group of local Kiwanis members, will once again jump out of plane, but this time to raise money for the Kiwanis Family House. - photo by Photo Contributed
Is that a bird? A plane? Why no, it is Kiwanis club members jumping out of planes.
Members of area Kiwanis clubs will be skydiving to raise money for the Kiwanis Family House, a temporary housing facility for the families of children being treated at the UC Davis Health System.  
Kiwanis Club of Turlock members will put their best feet forward and out of a plane, while flying thousands of feet in the air  to raise funds in October. There are about nine members from Turlock that are planning on flying with the birds on Oct. 3. There are a total of 20 members from Kiwanis clubs throughout the Central Valley and California who will be “Jumping for Children” in an effort to raise money for the Kiwanis Family House.  
“Skydiving is the biggest rush of your life,” said Warren Riopel, Lt. Governor of California Kiwanis Division 46. “It is stepping out of your comfort zone, and once you do that, you can do anything.”  
The money raised will allow the Kiwanis Family House to continue making sure that when medical tragedies strike, families will have access to their child’s bedside with housing, free shuttle service to the hospital, and volunteers that are available at all times.
There are about 1,200 to 1,300 families that stay at the Kiwanis Family House in Sacramento every year, said Kiwanis Family House Development Manager Gary Christensen. In 2008, 46 of those families were from Stanislaus County.
The facility is about three years old and has more than 40 rooms with two kitchens. Most of the supplies in the house are donated from Kiwanis members.  
The Kiwanis Family House charges $40 a night, but 25 percent or less of the families can’t afford those prices, Christensen said. No family is turned away due to inability to pay, he said. The average stay is about three to four nights per family but some families have stayed up to 11 months.  
This is the inaugural event of “Jumping for the Children.” Anyone can jump, as long as they have $100 to pay for their tandem jump fees and a minimum donation of $50, Riopel said.   
“With the economy, it is difficult for organizations to raise money so we just want to raise as much as we can,” Riopel said.
For more information about the “Jumping for Children” event, contact Warren Riopel at, or to donate send checks to: Kiwanis Club of Turlock Foundation, P.O. Box 1003, Turlock, CA 95381 and write “Jumping for Children” in the notes.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.