Backpacks of ‘back-to-school’ kindness

By Carol Marsh

GREENVILLE- Although families were busy enjoying those lingering days of summer vacation, the Greenville Kiwanis Aktion Club was busy filling “back to school” backpacks with much need classroom supplies, kindness, and good wishes for a great start to the school year.

In keeping with their annual theme of “kindness matters,” the Aktion Club, with over 50 members strong, worked in partnership with PCS Darke Career and Life Enrichment Center, Art Sense (Union City), and Your Happy Place, Inc. (Greenville) to “pay it forward” by raising the funds to purchase nearly all of the much-needed school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils, markers and crayons, along with products like hand sanitizer, wipes and tissues. The Greenville Kiwanis Club helped supply over 30 backpacks and other additional items. Then, Aktion Club members met, put the items in the backpacks, and distributed them to local families.

The Aktion Club also honored their “Members of the Month” for both July and August, 2021. Aktion Club Member of the Month for July was Mike Blakeley, who was chosen by Art Sense (Union City) and his peers for his constant efforts through the pandemic to gather data by listening to the news and the Governor’s press conferences, and keeping members informed on regulatory issues, restrictions, and sharing up-to-date information with friends, family, and organizations.

Aktion Club’s August Member of the Month was Mikey Schoenleben, who was nominated by PCS Darke County and chosen by his peers for his positive outlook and great attitude. Although he is very busy with his job and his daily commitments through the STEP program, Mikey is always ready to help out with service projects, and loves being active at community events.

While completing the Backpack project, Aktion Club members held a special “retirement party” for the Next Chapter Book Club facilitator and friend, Rush Coen Rogers. The Next Chapter Book Club, which has met each month since in 2017, was more than just a ordinary “book club.” Rogers worked hard to grow the club’s membership, coordinating movie events with local libraries, keeping the club going through COVID, and offering public speaking opportunities for Aktion Club members and others to educate the Darke County community and increase self-advocacy skills.

The Aktion Club, sponsored by the Greenville Kiwanis, meets every fourth Monday, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Ansonia Methodist Church. The next Aktion Club Meeting will be September 27, and will focus on the election of officers for the upcoming year.

Interested in learning more about the Greenville Aktion Club, or the Greenville Kiwanis? Contact Sue Huston at 937-459-4629 or email [email protected]

Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-4314.