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  • Members becoming leaders

    Leadership is one of Aktion Club’s core values. Every person has leadership potential—and Aktion Club can help people pursue that desire. In fact, someone with a desire to lead will decide to step forward even when the easier choice might have been to stand still.
    What can advisors do to help members reach their leadership potential?
    •  Model your thought processes to help members grow.
    •  Let members lead and practice new skills.
    •  Provide informational praise—by giving clear examples of the behavior you are praising.
    •  Encourage discussion before an event to discuss expectations, plans and desired outcomes.
    •  Use reflection after an event—to help members identify the effective skills they used and the changes they’ll need to make.
    Ultimately, supporting members to be the best version of themselves is a gift that you can give them through Aktion Club!

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  • 10 Tips for communicating with members

    Advisors have the privilege of working closely with Aktion Club members. Of course, all of us who work with Aktion Club also have a duty to communicate respectfully and appropriately manner, and we must set the example for those around us. So we’re providing 10 helpful tips on communication. We encourage you to check them out—and share them with others! 
    1. Speak directly to the person, rather than through a companion (or a sign language interpreter who may be present).
    2. Offer to shake hands when introduced. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb can usually shake hands. (Offering the left hand is an acceptable greeting.)
    3. Always identify yourself, and others who may be with you, when meeting someone with a visual disability. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking. When dining with a friend who has a visual disability, ask whether you can describe what is on his or her plate.
    4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.
    5. Treat adults as adults. Address people with disabilities by their first names only when you’re extending that same familiarity to all others. Do not refer to adults (for instance, Aktion Club members) as “kids.” Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
    6. Do not lean against or hang on someone’s wheelchair or pet a service animal. People with disabilities treat their chairs as extensions of their bodies. People with guide dogs and help dogs do the same with those animals—so don’t distract a service animal without the owner’s permission.
    7. Listen attentively when talking with people who have difficulty speaking—and wait for them to finish. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers or a nod of the head. Never pretend to understand if you don’t understand; repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.
    8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.
    9. Lightly tap a person who has a hearing disability on the shoulder or gently wave your  hand to get his or her attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly and expressively to establish whether he or she can read your lips. If so, try to face the light source and keep hands, drinks and food away from your mouth when speaking. If a person is wearing a hearing aid, don’t assume that they can distinguish your speaking voice.  Never shout at a person. Just speak in a normal tone.
    10. Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as “See you later” or “Did you hear about this?” that seem to ignore a person’s disability.

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  • An Oklahoma Mardi Gras celebrates Aktion Club

    It was a cool evening in Moore, Oklahoma, but the temperature inside was fever pitch. The Moore Aktion Club of Santa Fe Place waited anxiously to make a grand entrance accompanied by Key Club members and the court jester (one of the Key Clubbers) in full costume. Then the sounds of The Saints Come Marching In began—and so did the Mardi Gras festivities. 

    All the members circled the meeting room several times, and some even danced with the court jester. “Madam Butterfly” Jessica Smith, the club’s facility advisor, swooped through the crowd of about 150 in full costume to begin the induction of 32 new Kiwanis Aktion Club members. 

    Just six months ago, the Moore Aktion Club of Santa Fe Place became the first Aktion Club in Oklahoma. Its achievements go beyond its growing membership. Hosted at Santa Fe Place, a community living center for adults with disabilities, the club has already reached 1,500 service hours, done two fundraisers and sent 24 members to a special camp for adults with disabilities.  

    Now each member was being recognized by Texas-Oklahoma District Administrator Lynn DeGeorge, and Moore Kiwanis Club members pinned each new member as their names were called. The crowd, which included Oklahoma State Representative Mark McBride and district trustee Steven Brooks, heard all evening how the community was embracing the work of Kiwanis through Aktion Club. 

    The feeling is mutual. At every Aktion Club event, you will see members from several different Key Clubs, advisors for Bring Up Grades programs and members from many local Kiwanis clubs (including Moore, South Oklahoma City, Edmund, Norman, Southwest Oklahoma City).

    On this night, Kiwanis advisors Mary Edwards and Brenda Journey were instrumental in the success of the event, helping put together the Mardi Gras banquet — and like everyone else, they’re looking forward to many more accomplishments from the Santa Fe Place Aktion Club. 

    Meanwhile, the Aktion Club is already planning to make the banquet an annual event, with a different theme each year.

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