Aktion Club President, Lupita (center) rings in an Aktion Club meeting with
(left to right) Josh, Julie, Diane and Johanna

Mountain Shadows Aktion Club:
Changing the World One Child at a Time

by Sheryl Wilde

“Sometimes, it makes me want to cry,” says Linda Claudius, Youth Pastor at Gateway Community Church in San Marcos, and Aktion Club volunteer. “The Mountain Shadows Aktion Club members want to help others and give back to their community when many of them cannot speak or walk on their own.”

The Aktion Club, a worldwide, 12,000-member strong, Kiwanis-sponsored service club for adults with disabilities has a mission – to provide adults living with disabilities an opportunity to develop initiative, leadership skills and to serve their communities. Their goal is to teach leaders new ways to change the world by serving one child and one community at a time. And the most important lesson they teach is that individuals working together can and do make a difference to the world around them.

One needs only attend an Aktion Club meeting, held on the Mountain Shadows campus, to know that mission is being accomplished.

Linda with Aktion Club member Cathy

“The residents show a sense of pure joy of being in Aktion Club. They are very serious about it. They pray. They sing God Bless America; they say the Pledge of Allegiance.”

“I pledge on my honor to follow the Object of Aktion Club.
To better my community, my country, and myself.
To help those in need.
To demonstrate loyalty to our community and nation.
And to encourage others to do the same.

~ The Aktion Club Pledge

Lupita Rios, current Aktion Club President, is committed to the Aktion Club Pledge. “I like to be involved. I like to help other people.”

Lupita has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. “Aktion Club is fun! I like to make everyone else happy.”

Aktion Club members Lupita,
Karen and Carlos at the
Aktion Club Annual Convention

“Lupita was inspired at the first meeting she attended,” says Vickie Perdaris, Aktion Club Advisor and Activity Director, Mountain Shadows Community Homes – San Diego. “She wanted to go to all the club meetings from that point on.

“There are currently 23 members of the Aktion Club of North County San Diego. They meet on the Mountain Shadows campus the first and third Thursday every month. The club is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Escondido.

“The members lift each other up. They socialize. They serve as officers. They learn about leadership, about goal-setting, about planning strategies to help others in the community.

“The Aktion Club is very important to them. Helping others gives them a sense of self-pride, self-worth, and self-confidence.

A few of the community-based service projects the Aktion Club has participated in:

  • The Eliminate Project: A joint Kiwanis and UNICEF project aimed at eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. This deadly disease steals the lives of nearly 60,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year.
  • Rady Children’s Hospital: Creating pediatric trauma dolls, and providing pillows and blankets, for children undergoing treatment or surgery.
  • Stand-Up for Kids: Providing backpacks for homeless teens.
  • Pennies for Pets: Collecting funds for the San Diego Humane Society.
  • Ronald McDonald House: Recycling project.

“The developmentally impaired are often the most segregated people in America,” adds Linda. “Many people don’t engage with them. Sometimes people look away, or they speak to them like they are two years old. But they are intelligent.

“I remember one time, Josh, an Aktion Club member and past president (2015-2017), was trying to speak to me. He was trying very hard to help me understand him. But his body just wouldn’t cooperate. There was nothing he could do to help me understand what he was saying, so he started tapping his head and spelling it out.

“Still, I just couldn’t understand him. But he kept plugging away. Then, finally, there was a moment of triumph. I understood!

“He was trying to tell me what he was going to do that weekend – something so simple for many of us. It was a moment of growth and understanding for me.

“The residents of Mountain Shadows, and all disabled individuals, they are people, not labels. Every single one of the Aktion Club members wants to help. It’s important for all of us to understand that, and important for them to have that opportunity to help others.”

“I pledge on my honor to follow the Object of Aktion Club.
To better my community, my country, and myself.
To help those in need.
To demonstrate loyalty to our community and nation.
And to encourage others to do the same.

~ The Aktion Club Pledge

When you donate to Mountain Shadows Foundation,
you help advance the programs and services of
Mountain Shadows Support Group and Mountain Shadows Ancillary Services,
and help individuals with intellectual disabilities thrive.

Stay Connected