Members celebrated the anniversary with cake.
Members celebrated the anniversary with cake.

   Ten years ago, a new service organization came to town.

   But it wasn’t made up of top executives from Ripon, leaders of the community, pillars of industry.

   It’s membership offered little in terms of social status, but lots in terms of enthusiasm and desire to make the community better.

   And it’s been with that vim and vigor that the group, which has grown to include 18 developmentally disabled individuals, has approached everything it’s done for the past decade.

   “Aktion Club doesn’t only make a difference in the members’ lives but all of our lives and the community difference in your life and community,” Early Bird Kiwanis President Joan Karsten said.

   Fellow Early Bird Tonya Alling, who helped set up the club a decade ago, added that “As the parent of a young child with special needs, it was important to me to recognize that every person has the ability to make a difference.”

   Aktion Club has been the platform from which the members have helped the community, but also grown as individuals and learned how to better become self-sufficient.

   “Being in Aktion Club gives them a sense of belonging to something to look forward to,” said Helga Rikkers, a member of Ripon Noon Kiwanis and an advisor to the group. “When I see them in the community, they’ll always ask, ‘When is our next meeting?’”

Read the full column in the Oct. 31, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.