The Kirkwood’s: Diakonia Awards Salutes Downey’s Citizens

English: Seal of Downey, California
English: Seal of Downey, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Tammye McDuff

A couple of year’s ago the city of Downey wanted to find a way to award citizens for their contributions to our community. The word Diakonia is derived from the Greek language meaning ‘of service to others’. Recognize above and beyond as true stewards of goodness.

Dr. Bill Kirkwood and Connie Kirkwood, have been active in numerous community organizations and programs, and are the latest recipients of the Diakonia Award from the city of Downey. These two people have spent their entire life leading the community in great leadership and educational stewardship. From 1966 to 2004 the Kirkwood Christian Schools is a private, non-profit, Christian educational institution established to provide the best possible education and loving care for children of working parents.

The core values of Kirkwood Educational Center are the guiding principles that direct the school in fulfilling its mission as well as define the school’s community.   The established core values of KEC are Christian Character; Academic Excellence; Partnership; Spiritual growth in Love and Knowledge and to be Models of Christ. KCS believes that every child has a special place and calling on their life. They also believe that each child can become a powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord to make this world a better place.

Developed over the past thirty years, Kirkwood’s Pathways to Success program systematically produces character qualities which result in high academic success. Born in California’s attempt to restructure its elementary school programs in the 1970s, Pathways to Success is an individualized, continuous progress program with continuums in both the affective and cognitive domain. In the most fundamental sense, success is defined by seven levels of character developed growth along six affective continuums: investment of energy, value development, goal setting behaviors, self esteem, responsibility and independency. These attributes work hand in hand with Downey’s Character Counts initiative.

The school serves working parents, accepting everyone without selection factor. When young children enter the program, it is assumed that they have very little or no growth along any of the character development continuums. And as a function of the program, children develop a high level along each of these continuums.

Dr. Kirkwood has been the recipients of the Rotary Service Award, been the Grand Marshall for our Christmas parade, are founding members of Gangs Out Of Downey organization. Dr. Bill has been on the board of the YMCA Pre School and Youth Program, and in 1994 he received the Administrators Association Award in appreciation from the Downey Unified School District.

Connie Kirkwood has also been the Grand Marshall for the Christmas parade, Gypsy Johnson Auxiliary Assistance League, served as Chair on the Hospitality Committee, active in numerous Christian and church organization,  and makes an amazing homemade jam!

As community leaders they deserve the Diakonia Award. Dr. Bill was absolutely blessed and humble to receive this award. “We have lived our entire lives in this community with my lovely wife Connie being Ms. Downey for several years.  Our community is a family. The greatest gift from God is to be surrounded by loving friends and family, we are humbled. God bless you all.” says Dr. Kirkwood.

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