Individuals with Disabilities Serve Community with New Club

Arizona News
Summer 2015

Aktion Clubs, supported by KiwanSteve Freeman and his familyis, are the only service clubs for adults with disabilities, with more than 12,000 members worldwide.   When Family and Community Medicine physician, Melody Jordahl-Iafrato and her husband Michael Iafrato contacted the UCEDD about how their Kiwanis Chapter could help to start a new Aktion Club, the UCEDD knew DIRECT Center for Independence would be a good fit.  Sonoran UCEDD staff put them in touch with Steve Freeman, Program Coordinator for Say So of S. Arizona, DIRECT’s project promoting self-advocacy for people with disabilities.  Steve is in the process of recruitment of the 10 members needed to become an official Aktion Club Chapter.

The members will be given resources to make their own decisions.  Possible projects include fundraisers, park beautification and speaking to high school students about life with a disability. Freeman sees this club promoting leadership, friendships and decision-making skills. Self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities is personal as well as professional for Steve. His youngest daughter, Dominique Freeman, was born with Down syndrome. The family didn't expect it. He started volunteering and is now the president of the Southern Arizona Network for Down syndrome. 

Today, his daughter is 18 and part of the University of Arizona's two-year Project Focus program, taking classes such as oceanography, public health and Afrikana dance. Whenever the family can, they let Dominique make her own decisions. Her father wants to see others have that same opportunity.  He wants to give them more independence so they can make decisions about where they want to go in life. 

For more information call 520-624-6452

To learn more about Kiwanis Aktion Club visit http://www.aktionclub.org/Home.aspx