Barnes named winner in Kiwanis speech contest
LILINGTON - Natalie Barnes, a student in Central Carolina Community College's Compensatory Education program, took second place in the Kiwanis International Aktion Club Speech Contest.
Barnes, who previously won first place in the Aktion Club Carolinas District contest, delivered her speech during the Kiwanis Conference held at the Salvation Army's Camp Walter Johnson in Denton, in September. The winners of the district contests went on to compete in the international contest. Barnes' presentation was delivered via videotape at the international contest.
Elizabeth King, Aktion Club advisor, presented the second-place medal to Barnes at CCCC on Nov. 3.
The contest's speech theme was, "Discuss a time when you felt like you truly made a difference in the community or a person's life through your work in Aktion Club." Barnes' speech reflected her passion for helping others.
"I really enjoy being a student leader and helping other students as much as I can," Barnes said. "I'm excited and proud to win this award."
Barnes received her General Educational Development (GED) diploma through the college's Compensatory Education program. She continues to study and participate in community activities through the program.
Co-sponsored by the Kiwanis of Harnett County Aktion Club, the speech contest is just one of the events that give students with special needs a chance to participate in their communities.
"We do a lot to help the community in the Kiwanis Aktion Club," Barnes said. "We adopted a family this year and brought in items that we knew the family needed. We also make buckets filled with play dough, gummy candies, stuffed animals and other things for children with special needs at Lillington-Shawtown Elementary School. Being able to help, being able to do for others has made me feel good about myself."
The mission of the Kiwanis International Aktion Club is to help adults living with disabilities to participate in community service projects, gain leadership skills, become more involved in society and give greater visibility to the dignity and value of citizens living with disabilities.
In turn, Aktion Club members help return to their communities the benefits and skills they have received through service. In addition to the international speech contest, Aktion Clubs raise funds for Sleeping Children Around the World, an organization that provides bed kits to children in developing countries, and numerous other humanitarian projects.
King, who is also lead instructor for the CCCC Compensatory Education program, said that it serves approximately 30 students, ranging in age from 16 to 60. The students represent a wide range of disabilities from physical and intellectual to multiple disabilities such as deafness and legal blindness.
To qualify for the Compensatory Education program at CCCC, students must have a diagnosis of intellectual disabilities or a traumatic brain injury with functioning ability within the range of intellectual disability. Students must be 17 years of age or older and be released from public school.
The curriculum focuses on language, math, social studies, community living, consumer education, health, and vocational training. It is an academic rather than a job-training program. Compensatory Education classes are free and students may remain in the program for as long as they choose to participate. The program also focuses on skills such as appropriate behavior, how to access services in the community, vocational training, writing, filling out job applications, answering the phone properly, and a number of other basic living skills.
CCCC Compensatory Education students have also participated in the Harnett County Special Olympics and collected canned goods for food banks. In 2010, the students received the Outstanding Service Award from ARC of Harnett County, a non-profit organization serving individuals and families with disabilities. They were also named first-place winner in the talent contest at the Aktion Club Carolinas District 2012 Convention.
For more information on the Compensatory Education program at Central Carolina Community College, contact Elizabeth King, Compensatory Education lead instructor at 910-814-8977 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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