Kiwanis help make disabled children happy

Kiwanians Shamus Cusik, Allen Hendricks, Hal Paul, Al Smith and John Sweany adapt toys for children with disabilities.

Instead of a regular monthly meeting, Westlake Kiwanis volunteered at a workshop at Westlake Porter Public Library on April 15. They partnered with Replay for Kids adapting new and gently used toys for children with disabilities who would not otherwise be able to use these toys because of various disabilities.

The workshop was conducted by Natalie Wardega, director of operations for Replay for Kids, an organization of volunteers who repair and adapt toys and assistive devices for children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio. Natalie gave a short overview of their program. She then gave lessons on how to adapt toys with various bypass switches and jack plugs which makes the toys operational in many different ways. Some toys can now be operated by blowing into them or by the touch of the side of the head or use of other body parts without having to maneuver intricate switches.

This was the Westlake Kiwanis' second year of taking part in this workshop and an extra year of experience was evident as many more toys were adapted than in the first year. 

If you're interested in volunteering at RePlay For Kids, check their website at for dates and times of future workshops. They also accept donations of new or gently used toys and monetary donations.

If you would like to join an active volunteer group – the Westlake Kiwanis – and giving back to your community on many worthwhile projects, please contact George Christ at 440-871-3980 or

Victor Rutkoski

I am a member of the Westlake Kiwanis and and advisor for the Westlake Kiwanis Aktion Club.

Read More on Community Service
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.29.2014