Kiwanis Aktion Club – turning disabilities into abilities

Kiwanians visit the Denton State Supported Living Center.

Kiwanians visit the Denton State Supported Living Center.

Vicki Baker

Too often people with serious intellectual disabilities are challenged doubly. On one hand they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the actual condition. On the other hand they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudices that result from misconceptions about intellectual and development deficits. As a result of both they are often robbed of the opportunities that define a quality of life. But through the Kiwanis sponsored Aktion Club, adults living with disabilities are given a chance to build leadership and decision making skills, to hold leadership roles in the club and to serve their communities.

The Kiwanis Club recently visited the campus of Denton State Supported Living Center, the site of the Robson Ranch Kiwanis sponsored Aktion Club. DSSLC, a 189-acre facility, is a state-run residential facility providing round-the-clock care for approximately 500 residents with severe or profound developmental delays, people with developmental delays who are medically fragile and those who have significant behavioral issues. It is a campus-like setting for those who cannot live independently and allows the residents to live as normal a lifestyle as possible. DSSLC provides residential services, comprehensive behavioral treatment and health care services including physician, nursing and dental visits. Other services include skills training, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, vocational programs with on-site workshops and services to maintain connections between residents and their families and support systems.

Through the Aktion Club under the direction of Kiwanians Brenda and Gerald Jones, the residents become active participants of society by performing meaningful community service activities and learn organization, teamwork and leadership skills. Members perform a variety of community based projects inspiring them to play a part in their communities and really make a difference.

More than anything, people living with disabilities want to be treated like everybody else. Being a part of Aktion Club gives its members an opportunity to develop and use their talents, and in turn help them improve their self-esteem and belief in themselves. Aktion Club members strive to return to their communities the benefits, help and caring they have received while developing important skills in the process.

Everyone deserves a second, third and even fourth glance and chance. You never know. That person just might be the person that changes your life forever. Ever wonder how you can change a life? Then visit the Kiwanis Club RR on the first and third Fridays of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse. For more information contact Barbara Leurig at barbara@leurig.com.