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Lori Roberts | Oct 29, 2018

Oklahoma Kiwanis family celebrates Mardi Gras.

When the Santa Fe Place Aktion Club in Moore, Oklahoma, celebrated its charter with a Mardi Gras-themed party, members entered the room to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” They might not consider themselves to be saints, but they’ve taken on a workload that might humble most mere mortals.

In the first six months as a club, members completed 1,500 service hours, held two fundraisers and sent 24 of its members to camp.

“They develop this strength in knowing that they can do things and they have worth and abilities,” says Jessicia Smith, the facility advisor at Santa Fe Place, a living facility for developmentally disabled adults.

While there are more than 12,000 Aktion Club members worldwide, no clubs existed in the Oklahoma area. That changed when Santa Fe Place was chartered in August 2017. Because the Moore Kiwanis Club was not yet chartered, the Aktion Club was co-sponsored by the South Oklahoma City Kiwanis Club. But the Moore Kiwanians, along with Key Club members from Westmoore High School and Moore High School, stepped up to support the Aktion Club’s activities and service projects. They also sponsored the charter party, which celebrated the members with Mardi Gras activities and refreshments.

The Santa Fe Place residents embraced the concept, Smith says. They raised their US$600 charter fee by selling Kiwanis T-shirts and cups. They held a baked potato dinner and have a bin onsite for donations of clothing and items that they sell to a thrift store. The group provides cleaning services at a Moore free clinic and assists a youth ministry by cleaning up its soccer fields. The group donates toys, blankets and bottles to Jordan’s Crossing, a drug and alcohol recovery center that allows women to keep their children with them. Members recently applied for a State Farm grant to build a playground at the site .

"Aktion Club allows me to work in the community to help others,” says Vice President Sarah Watson. “I get to volunteer at places like the free clinic. I like having our meetings to talk about service projects, doing fun things together, laughing together and working together. I am proud that we are the first Aktion Club in the state. Aktion Club brings all residents together." 

When they’re working, club members are outfitted in bright orange Aktion Club shirts. That brings added recognition and some great PR, Smith says. She hopes the visible work ethic and positive attitudes translate into paid work opportunities. Scott Cooper, the Santa Fe Place Aktion Club service committee chair, echoes her sentiments. 

“Aktion Club means we can go out and show people that we can do things,” Cooper says.” Maybe they will give us a job one day.”


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