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Rosewood AKTION Club members lean advocacy at State Conference
Members of the Rosewood Miracle Workers’ AKTION Club pose for a group photo during last weekend’s SACK Conference in Topeka. Pictured left to right, front row: Abbey Stanley, Josh Trimmer, Shae Griffin, Samantha Purcell, Ivan Smith; middle row: Michael Manka, Lindsey Nondorf, Frankie Pelster (sponsor), David Edwardson; back row: Kurtis Coleman, Tahcoa Strachan (sponsor), Rae Griffin, Tabitha Sanders (sponsor), and Josh Radar.

Eleven members of Rosewood Services’ AKTION Club, along with three sponsors, “rolled” into Topeka last weekend for the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas Conference. This year’s theme for the annual SACK Conference was “That’s How We Roll.” 

Attending the conference for Kansans with disabilities were Rosewood Miracle Worker AKTION Club members Kurtis Coleman, David Edwardson, Rae Griffin, Shae Griffin, Michael Manka, Lindsey Nondorf, Samantha Purcell, Josh Radar, Ivan Smith, Abbey Stanley, and Josh Trimmer. Also attending this year’s conference were AKTION Club sponsors Frankie Pelster, Tahcoa Strachan, and Tabitha Sanders. 

The SACK Conference, held June 21-23 at the Ramada Inn, was an opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to meet, share and learn from each other and from experts in the field. Participants of this year’s annual conference had opportunity to choose from 14 workshops during four learning sessions that were held last Saturday. 

“The conference is beneficial because organizers do a tremendous job of teaching our members leadership skills and how to have a voice in our community,” said AKTION Club sponsor Frankie Pelster. Our members come back from the conference and share their experiences with others, so it has a positive effect on our whole organization. They also learn to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”

At the start of the conference, participants heard from keynote speaker Parker Glick, a lifelong self-advocate who works for the Statewide Independent Council of Georgia in Atlanta. 

Among the sessions offered, Pelster said that Basic Self Defense, parts 1 and 2, instructed by self-advocate Roger Crome, were the most popular among many of the attendees. They also participated in sessions regarding money management, trauma and abuse prevention and care, integrated work settings, grassroots advocacy, and they got to hear from “Ms. Wheelchair Kansas” and “Little Miss Wheelchair Kansas,” who talked about their respective competition journeys. 

The SACK Quarterly meeting was held late Saturday afternoon with Shae Griffin representing Rosewood AKTION Club at the meeting. Saturday’s events concluded with a dinner, a dance, and an opportunity to participate in an art workshop. 

“The ride home from the conference on Sunday was very quiet because most of them were sleeping,” said Pelster. “It’s a long weekend for everyone involved, but it’s worth every minute of it.”