Kiwanis Aktion Club: Where Development Has No Disability

By Ralph Tweedie, Manotick Kiwanis Club

Recently I attended an AKtion Club, another member of the Kiwanis family. The Kiwanis AKtion Club is the only service club worldwide for adults with disabilities. Their motto is “Where development has no disability”. Their mission is to develop independence, self-reliance and leadership skills for persons with developmental disabilities. Club members elect their own President and Vice President who help run their meetings.

AKtion Club participants benefit from the strong feelings of being part of a community and the opportunity to realize their potential. Their core values are inclusiveness, acceptance and welcoming differences in others. For some members, this is their only social outing.

As Kiwanis volunteers we benefit as well. It’s the joy you feel when you see their smiling faces as they greet their friends.  They are proud to join in activities, such as singing the National Anthem. You can’t leave the meeting without feeling uplifted. You have helped make someone’s life a little brighter.

The Ottawa Kiwanis Club is the official sponsor of AKtion Club. Each meeting is hosted by a different local Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club of Manotick has hosted the meeting four times this year.

As hosts we serve coffee and water before dinner, help get them organized, and serve them a sit-down dinner. The dinner itself is catered by a member of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, chef Abhijit Potdar who provides nutritious meals. There is no charge to attendees.

After dinner we clean up and serve cake for dessert. As host we are responsible for the cake, door prizes and entertainment. Over the years the entertainment has included presentations, music with dancing, and games.  Bingo is the most common activity and has the added delight of prizes.

None of this would be possible without the dedication of David Trigger, a member of the KC of Ottawa who has volunteered with the AKtion Club since 2005. Dave is the Chairperson of the Aktion Club Committee. Responsibility for the success of the meetings also rests with the Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Development Disabilities (OCAPDD). They partner with the KC of Ottawa to coordinate the event and the AKtion Club members. Without them the meetings would not happen.

The first AKtion Club was created in Florida in 1987. The Ottawa Club, the first in Canada, began in 1999. It grew from a single club with 26 members to two clubs of approximately 65 members each in 2020. The clubs met on alternate Tuesdays from October to May from 1999 until interrupted by the Covid pandemic in 2020.

This year the Ottawa Kiwanis Aktion Club restarted biweekly meetings on Tuesday nights.  Attendance has grown over the year to approximately 70 attendees. Other clubs hosting a meeting include the Kiwanis Clubs of Ottawa, Ottawa West, East Ottawa Est and Kanata-Stittsville.

There are more than 500 Aktion Clubs worldwide with a membership in excess of 12,000. They are an important part of the Kiwanis Team.  Kiwanis Manotick is very proud to be part of this team.

For more information, please contact Debbie Mulvihill at 613-692-5346 or email Debbie at

Featured Image: There are 500 Aktion Clubs that are part of the Kiwanis Team.