Volunteers from across New York descended on Rochester to share their ideas at the Kiwanis Aktion Club statewide conference this October. Lifestyles’ own Kiwanians were among the groups represented who talked about leadership, their club activities, and why they give their time.
“Kiwanis Aktion Club members serve their communities,” explained Eric Schwacke. “We’re here to serve. What can I can say – it’s a family.”
“With all that the Aktion Club members do, it’s a great feeling,” said Dennis Gable, advisor to the Staten Island contingent. “I’m very happy to be a part of it and to be involved with Lifestyles Aktion Club.”
Lifestyles was represented by Eric Schwacke, William Bush, Michael Cilmi and new member Kenneth Tobin, along with staff advisors Paula and Edward Gregory.
This year, the Lifestyles group collected toys for children, raised money at a 60’s dance to send people to Kamp Kiwanis, and gave clothes and holiday gifts to residents of Project Hospitality. Other Aktion Clubs at the conference included Ontario County, Newark, Waterloo, Brighton, Brockport, and Gates. The state clubs also conducted bake sales, clothing drives, arts and craft supply collections, car washes, disaster relief packages, and more.
The Gregorys made the most of crossing 300-plus miles of the state. They guided the four young men to some of the highlights of Central New York, taking in Lake Ontario, the Rochester Museum of Science and the Corning Museum of Glass.
The Aktion Clubs are Kiwanis groups of people with disabilities volunteering to support others. There are more than 500 Aktion Clubs with more than 12,000 members worldwide.
- Article by Eddy Gregory with Eric Schwacke and Meredith Arout.
- Photography: Eric Schwacke
- Video: Michael Cilmi, reporter, Eddy Gregory, producer.
The Media Department traveled to CTV (Community Television) to record some segments for an upcoming show on keeping fit at Lifestyles. Here is an inside peek at the Mariners Harbor studio taken by Aaron Bialer.
“I wanted to capture what everyone is doing and how they enjoyed what they are doing,” said Aaron. “It’s a little tricky — the lights and the settings on the camera. But we go often, so I can keep trying.
“Tony (DeSimone, media staff) talked about how the more you do, you will improve. As long as you don’t give up, you will get it done,” concluded Aaron.
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“The weather was so-so. But it’s fun to see Nature, go to the beach, and get some fresh air,” said Riki G.
The photos show the grayness of the day and a sun that couldn’t quite make it out.
“The geese were being annoying, so I said ‘Shut up geese,’ ” said Meredith A.
The Canada geese can be seen in the pond and along the shoreline.
“I found a seashell, and I have sand in my shoes,” said Riki. “It feels weird.”
No deer were seen, but footprints of a deer were, bringing us “one step closer to seeing a deer,” said one participant.
Offerings from the sea — driftwood and smooth stones — were placed at the grotto.
The landscape has only a touch of color, but after this warm weekend, we expect there will be a lot more buds opening on trees and flowers and with it a more colorful scene.
Meredith Arout, Riki Garcia, Andrew Moszenberg with Kathryn Carse. Photos by Merdith Arout, Aaron Bialer and Kevin Distefano.
Commentary written collaboratively by Aread Diaz, Anthony DiFato, Kareem Ellison, Frank Faretra, Matthew Ianelli, Joseph Jones, Michael Smith, with Edward Gregory.
Darius McCollum, a convicted train thief with Asperger’s Syndrome, will be getting mental help, instead of jail. Will it be the kind of help he needs; will he be locked in an asylum; or will he be treated and released back into society? What kind of help he gets, the courts will decide. Life-Wire News Service has some opinions on the subject. Here’s what we think:
Darius McCollum needs justice, not injustice from the justice department. In fact, they put him in jail for a mental disorder that they know nothing about. How can you lock someone in an institution when he needs help? Being in a psych ward is like being in Hell, and that’s not fun. Most people don’t or won’t understand his love for the transit system and calling him a thief. Sometimes it’s hard to understand his mental disability. –Joseph Jones.
If he has a disorder, they should allow him to go to the hospital for his disorder. They should help people when they have a disorder, not put them in jail. -Kareem Ellison
He needs help because he stole trains. Be good to yourself and others. Do not send Darius to jail; he needs psychological help. –Frank Faretra.
He’s a good bus driver and I seen lots of buses and I’ve seen a lot of people drive them. Sometimes I see people drive the trains. He needs a job, a career and mental help. –Michael Smith.
He should go to the hospital because he steals buses and trains, so he can get better. –Matthew Ianelli.
People spend a lot of time talking about him as a notorious criminal. But all he does with these vehicles is what the normal bus drivers do; but people say he does it better. –Anthony DiFato.
He’s not that bad at all. He needs help. If he doesn’t get his help, he could spend the rest of his life in jail or an asylum. -Aread Diaz
We encourage the judge and the justice system to do what’s right for Darius McCollum.
Find out more at Free Darius Now Online.
Here is our recent review of the documentary: Off the Rails: Story of a One-Track Mind.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Tuesday was a wintry day but life was popping at Blue Heron Park. It was all happening at the bird feeders. Because contrary to popular belief, not all birds go south for the winter.
And even though it was cloudy and cold, with temps in the mid 30s, we didn’t even have to be that adventurous. The Annadale preserve has a spacious Nature Center, so in its warmth and comfort the Media Department members were able to watch the birds come and go and get quite a few photos displaying the beauty of the feathered creatures. (Check out the slide show below.)
The field trip was part of a new activity sponsored by Friends of Blue Heron Park, called the Jack Baird Bird Identification Program. It provides youngsters (and the young at heart) with binoculars, books and charts to ID the birds and chart to record the observations. Oh and a friendly ranger to help too.
“The birds come to the feeders because it is winter time, and they don’t have food, especially when the ground is frozen and covered with snow,” said Meredith A, explaining what Park Ranger Andrew told us.
“He also told us deer sometime visit,” said Kevin D.
The birds we saw included the red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, male and female cardinal, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, house finch and the mockingbird.
“I got my first photo of a cardinal,” said a beaming Meredith.
When we first got there, things got a little quiet. Then a feeding frenzy broke out and binoculars and cameras were moving among the nearly dozen feeders. As you can see by the photos, when things get quiet at the feeders, there is plenty to look at in the center, from bones and fur to turtles.
The goal is for this feeder project to become a true scientific research project for the young and curious budding scientist. By recording this data about the birds here in Staten Island, the information collected will help students, naturalists and other interested people.
The program is named in honor of the late Jack Baird, a native Staten Islander who helped create Blue Heron Park. It extends from now through April 30.
Check it out this weekend. Blue Heron Park Nature Center is at 222 Poillon Ave., Annadale.
Kathryn Carse wrote this with Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer and Anthony Kefalinos. Photos by Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer.
Please enjoy two seasonal word search puzzles created by our Life-Wire News Service staff.
If you like classic cars and classic rock, come on down to Midland Beach Sunday, September 24 for the Rare Breed Legacies Auto Meet, beginning at noon.
Besides classic cars, visitors will enjoy great music from 8-Track, American Cover Story, Nakid Jedeye, Spite Club, and Hard Rock n’ Sports. Also spinning discs will be DJ Bass Chills.
Proceeds raised will benefit the Stephen Siller Foundation, Semper Fi Foundation, and the NYPD Foundation. Registration for cars begins at 11 a.m.
-Written collaboratively by Anthony DiFato, Joseph Padalino, and other members of the Life-Wire News Service crew, with Edward Gregory.