After one year acting as lieutenant governor of the Queens West Kiwanis, Stephen Sirgiovanni realized he wanted to make a bigger difference. The Howard Beach native accomplished this when he was elected governor of New York Kiwanis on Aug. 15.
Sirgiovanni’s campaign trail spanned across all of New York state, from his hometown in Howard Beach to Niagara Falls. His father was one of the founding members of the Howard Beach Kiwanis and Sirgiovanni grew up volunteering around his community. He raised $18,000 for juvenile diabetes as lieutenant governor and also raised money for local Howard Beach nonprofit New York Families for Autistic Children.
“I started to run for governor because I knew I could make a difference and implement what I want to do,” Sirgiovanni said.
He will start his position as governor-elect on Oct. 1 and shadow New York District Governor Forbes Irvine for one year as he learns how to take over an organization with more than 7,000 members and 250 clubs.
Sirgiovanni is looking forward to attracting more members and expanding Kamp Kiwanis, a free summer camp for 800 children 8 to 14. He also wants to raise money for the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center, which aims to reduce trauma-related death and injuries for children. Pediatric lyme disease, cerebral palsy and autism are among the causes he wants to raise funds for.
Support from the Howard Beach community, including elected officials, has poured in, he said, because his community involvement has been extensive. Though he was deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy, Sirgiovanni still found time to deliver food to relief centers all across Queens.
“The work that I do, I do for the community and for the children,” Sirgiovanni said.