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Byron Tabor
Project HappinessRose Parade

Byron's Success Story

In 2007, Byron Tabor heard about a student leadership program called Key Leader. On a whim, he signed up as an adult volunteer at a Key Leader weekend in Gretna, Nebraska.

Four Key Leader retreats later, he’s still hooked.

“You just have to go and experience it once,” Byron says. “It defies description to see the kids blossom over the weekend. At the beginning, you’re in a room full of almost 80 students who arrive as strangers—but you all leave with hugs.”

Byron shares his Key Leader experience with local high school students, inviting new students to each retreat. In Gretna, he brought along an underclassman with great potential and an interest in service. That student returned home, chartered a Key Club at his school and served as club president for three years. 

Brian and Byron

The following year, Byron invited Brian Turindwamukama, a high school student who had recently moved to the U.S. from Uganda. After attending that Key Leader weekend in St. Charles, Iowa, Brian was inspired to return with Byron the next year as a student facilitator. 

For Byron, the best part of a Key Leader weekend is helping the students discover who they are, figure out what they can do and learn to believe in themselves.

“I like that we don’t just stand up there and preach to them,” he says. “We get them to actually think about what’s important to them in their lives, and that can be different for different people. And sometimes in the back of the room, there’s a 50-year-old man like me thinking about things a certain way for the first time.”

Every year, helping Key Leader attendees discover their leadership potential reminds Byron why he became involved in service. An active Kiwanian for 21 years, Byron is also a five-time Nebraska-Iowa District lieutenant governor and a member of the Marion Metro and Hiawatha Cedar Rapids Edgewood Kiwanis clubs. 

“Key Leader camps keep the fire burning,” he says. “It’s a great way to recharge, and it keeps you coming back for more.”