Club offers place for special needs people to meet |

Club offers place for special needs people to meet

by Caryn Haller
Special to The R-C

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Kyle Black, 31, loves hanging out with his friends from Special Olympics.

And to be a member of a service club with them, is even better.

“There’s a lot of adults with special needs who don’t have anything to do,” Black’s mother Joanne Fecteau said. “Most of the parents are excited about getting their kids involved in the club. Anything they can do to be out in the community is great.”

Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley, the Aktion Club, is a community service group comprised solely of adults with disabilities.

Family Support Council will also partner with the Kiwanis to work with club members.

Fecteau said there were no programs for parents with Down Syndrome children in the Valley when her son was born. In fact, Carson Tahoe Hospital often called her to talk to other parents with Down Syndrome babies.

Since then, programs such as Special Olympics have come along for Black and his friends.

More than two dozen special needs adults meet regularly to train for and participate in Special Olympics.

They meet two times a month at the Douglas County Community Center to practice their basketball skills and exercise, and every week at Silver Strike Lanes.

“I want to have fun with my friends, “ Black said of joining Aktion Club. “I like to help people.”

“They love to get together and hang out,” Fecteau said. “It brings out their personalities. All of them enjoy helping. There’s a lot of adults with special needs who don’t have anything to do.”

Black works as a bagger at Smith’s and volunteers at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet on top of participating in Special Olympics.

“Kyle and everybody benefit by having activities,” Black’s house coach, Sharol Damberger said. “They do so much better when they feel they are contributing.”

Starting an Aktion Club in the Valley, is a desire Kiwanis member Gary Dove has had in the back of his mind for three years when he was first introduced to the club in Lake Tahoe.

“I’ve been associated with this group in Lake Tahoe, and I saw the need and the benefits of helping this group of people,” Dove said. “I believe special needs people have big hearts, and given the proper direction will give back to the community.”

To get the club started, Dove needs to raise $500 to cover the cost of a club banner, pins, certificates, gavel, gong and the first year of membership for all participants.

The purpose of Aktion Club is to raise money to donate to other worthy causes.

Club members will decide where to give their money to, and also have their own elected officers.

“Their whole goal is to make money to give away,” Dove said. “Some things they can do is help at our club functions, sell coffee at the concerts. They may do bake sales or car washes.”

Dove is hoping to have enough club members to start meeting by October.

“I’m looking forward to helping them fill a need in the community,” Dove said.

For more information about Aktion Club, call Dove at 775-339-8882.