Greenville Kiwanis Aktion Club takes 1st place in international contest


GREENVILLE – With the completion of more than 1,100 hours of service/volunteer hours in the 2017-18 club year, Greenville Kiwanis Aktion Club wanted to highlight its accomplishments by entering the scrapbook portion of The Aktion Club district contests.

The club averaged a monthly reporting of 112.5 hours of service with 35 members participating in 13 services projects.

Aktion Club is a Kiwanis club for adults with disabilities. The club was sponsored by Greenville Kiwanis Club in 2016 and began with 47 members. Cheryl Pressly and Sue Huston, employees of Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities, are co-advisers of the club. They support members in developing service leadership projects that benefit the community.

“It is important that our projects are member driven. As advisers, we are here to support them in their mission,” Huston said.

The club seems to have evolved into two general directions based on members’ interests – recycling and helping people.

One member wanted to “go green” and learn more about recycling so the club partnered with The Darke County Solid Waste District. Club members’ largest project is collecting caps/lids to be recycled into benches. They have collected enough for 20 benches, which will be secured throughout the county on the bike path this spring.

Aktion Club members also are very passionate about helping people; they have many projects that involve helping children both locally and internationally. Locally, they have purchased backpacks full of school supplies, new bicycles for Christmas, held annual food drives and have adopted several families during the Christmas season. Internationally, they raised more than $500 to purchase 15 bed kits for Sleeping Children Around the World.

An ongoing project that is important to local members is the Chemo-Bag Project. The club raises money through fundraising to purchase bags and fill them with items. To date, members have delivered nearly 40 bags to Greenville’s Dayton Physician’s Network office. They visit with people as they are receiving treatment.

Aktion Club President Sam Ploch has personally delivered bags and is very proud of this project.

“Our project is very touching to a lot of good people in need,” Ploch said. “It is amazing to hear all the stories of their journey. We just hope that we can give them a little hope and wish them the best.”

“We couldn’t do the work we do if it weren’t for our partnerships with local Day Services and independent providers,” Huston said. “Art Sense, Your Happy Place and Person Centered Services as well as several providers and parents assist in not only the driving members to the meetings but also the coordination and oversight of many of the projects. It is truly a group effort, and we are grateful for the collaboration.”

One such collaboration was completing the scrapbook. It was a monumental project, and the members worked hard to decide the layout and design of each page.

“We were thrilled to win first place at the district level and then have the opportunity to compete internationally,” Pressly said. “When we got the news that we won first place internationally, our members were ecstatic.”

The scrapbook currently is on display at Darke DD, and the club hopes to highlight it at various locations throughout the county. It is quite impressive to see an entire year of activity and all of the club members’ hard work. To see many of the pictures used in the scrapbook, like the group on Facebook at The Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

To learn more about Aktion Club, contact Sue Huston at 459-4629 and sueh@darkedd.org or Cheryl Pressly at 459-4627 and cherylp@darkedd.org.