Date: January 14, 2010

Contact: Tracy Lynott – Director, Development
443.702.3016 email:

Empowering People with Disabilities to Reach Out Through Volunteer Service
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MARYLAND: On January 11, 2010, Bello Machre and the Kiwanis Club of Severna Park, Maryland, sponsored the chartering celebration of the Aktion Club of Marley. The Aktion Club of Marley is the newest service leadership program developed by Kiwanis International to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to play a more active role in their communities through leadership development and volunteer service. The mission of the Aktion Club is to provide opportunities to develop leadership skills, to serve the community, to be integrated into society, and to demonstrate the dignity and value of citizens with disabilities. 
The chartering of the Aktion Club of Marley ceremony held January 11 included a presentation and pinning ceremony for its nine new Charter Members and officers including: Jerry Bargar, Katie Cook, Eric Ondrovich, Gretchen Peterson, Krystle Powell, Joseph Rachanow, Gail Taylor, Aaron Thomas, and Clifton Whitacre. The meeting was well attended by Kiwanis, family, and community members. George Wolff, Director of Support Services of Bello Machre commented, “I’m deeply honored to have taken part in this important ceremony empowering people with disabilities to reach out through volunteer service.”
Bello Machre was instrumental in developing and organizing this program in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Severna Park. Kiwanis members, Paul Striffler and Lloyd Smithey along with Bello Machre employees Evette Watson, Volunteer Coordinator and Darlene Hicks, Family Support Services Assistant, recruited members, secured meeting locations, provided transportation as needed, and facilitated meeting content.
The Kiwanis Club of Severna Park is one part of Kiwanis International, a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one community at a time. Kiwanis Club of Severna Park was founded in 1959. The club began with just eight members and has grown to its current membership of twenty-five. Over the years, the club has held many fundraisers. In addition, the club helps out in the community in a variety of ways, including sponsoring youth groups, highway clean-ups, raising money to benefit children and children’s support groups, and providing scholarships. The club has enjoyed a rich history over the years, with its members coming from fields like accounting, civil service, education, management, and many more. 
Other official Kiwanis Club Charter Officers for the service organization include: Gail Taylor – President, Aaron Thomas – Vice President, Krystle Powell – Secretary, Joseph Rachanow – Treasurer. Bello Machre staff members Evette Watson and Darlene Hicks will be serving as the Administrative Representative and Aktion Club Advisor.  
Bello Machre, founded in 1972, means Home of My Heart in Gaelic. It is a non-profit organization in Anne Arundel Country, Maryland that provides homes and support to children, teens, adults, and seniors with developmental disabilities. More importantly, Bello Machre enriches the lives of those served through loving care, guidance, and opportunity so that they can live life to its fullest. Employing 300 skilled professionals, Bello Machre manages 54 homes and serves 175 people residentially throughout Central Maryland. Through its Support Services Programs, Bello Machre provides help and support to more than 150 individuals and families in their own homes. The Ray of Hope Program provides annual grants to help individuals and families obtain respite care, specialized summer camp, physical therapy, and specialized equipment. Its Respite Care Home provides residential support during family hospitalizations, emergencies, and vacations—24-hours a day, seven days a week. It serves children and adults without regard to race, religion, gender, or national origin.