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Pilot Club guides health, safety projects

8/22/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

New members sought

Pilot Club of Akron members Nancy Smith, of Bath, Pat Gwyn and Ann Winland, of Copley, and Jackie Barley, of Canton, are shown at right, from left, at Bath Community Day Aug. 3, where they handed out CHAD (Children Have An Identity) emergency information stickers that attach to car seats.
Photo: Krista Galloway
Nancy Smith and Ann Winland, of the Pilot Club of Akron, are shown above, from left, as they take part in a BrainMinder™ presentation at Safety Town in Copley earlier this summer.
Photo courtesy of Pilot Club of Akron
GREATER AKRON — The Pilot Club of Akron helps local residents dealing with a range of issues reach for the stars and overcome their challenges.

The local club, an affiliate of Pilot International, was founded in 1942. Current President Jackie Barley, of Canton, said the organization’s main focus is on helping people with brain disorders.

“Our big thing we try to promote is our health and safety education program for children to protect their brains and on brain safety,” Barley said.

As part of that, club members have conducted puppet shows at children’s events such as Safety Town programs in Bath, Copley and Norton. The program helps children remember to wear a bike helmet while cycling and a seat belt when in a car, as well as tips on playground safety and on crossing the street, Barley said.

That program is for children ages 4 to 7, and the group also has a safety program for older children. Members are available to present the program at no cost to preschools and other settings, Barley said.

A new initiative of the Akron group is a program for middle-aged and older adults to help them with brain health.

The Akron group is about to start an effort with the International Institute, where it hopes to mentor a refugee family that has arrived in the area.

Also, one of its other efforts will see members going to Peachtree Estates to work with the children of single parents who are moving on from addiction with the help of Community Health Center.

“We do a lot of good work, but not all of it is brain-related,” Barley said.

Pilot International was founded in 1921 as a volunteer service organization. Its name was inspired by riverboat pilots who would steer through calm or troubled waters, according to organization officials. Since 1991, the focus of the group has been on brain-related disorders, although individual clubs also can engage in projects that promote community safety and well-being.

Barley said members meet monthly. Regular meetings take place the third Tuesday of the month at the Village of St. Edward’s in Fairlawn, with dinner at 6 p.m. and a meeting at 7. Some months the group uses its meeting day for one of its service projects, Barley said.

The members also take part in fundraising to help support its projects and other initiatives, such as scholarships for students seeking careers in fields to improve the lives of people with brain disorders and other disabilities.

New members are currently being sought, and the group is open to both men and women. Members pay dues that help support the group and its initiatives. To attend a meeting, call Barley at 330-309-8772 or email at jlbarley@aol.com. More information about the group is available at www.pilotinternational.org or search for Pilot Club of Akron on Facebook.

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