National Inclusion Project partners with Park District to create recreational opportunities
From press release
The National Inclusion Project has partnered with the Rockford Park District to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs. The partnership has allowed for the development of the Rockford Park District’s Peer Play program, which allows children with developmental disabilities to enjoy a successful after-school program experience in an inclusive setting within two of the YMCA’s School Age Center programs. As part of this initiative, the National Inclusion Project will provide a program model, training, expertise and an award of $15,000.
The National Inclusion Project has been actively developing its Let’s ALL Play Program since the program’s inception in 2004. In 2010, the project is partnering with more than 45 recreational programs in 23 states. Teaming with the Rockford Park District and the YMCA of the Rock River Valley is another exciting step toward their goal of full inclusion.
“We feel that working with the Rockford Park District will help us further our mission to open doors in communities nationwide for children with disabilities to experience everything life has to offer,” says Jerry Aiken, executive director.
Let’s ALL Play helps bring an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities, and gives children with developmental disabilities the same experience as those without disabilities. Children with disabilities and their peers who are typically developing come together to participate in recreational activities such as sports, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness, and more.
In 2008, the project enlisted the services of The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to assess the implementation of Let’s ALL Play. Overwhelming evidence showed that children with disabilities improved self-esteem, social skills, confidence to participate, and sport and motor skills. Campers of all abilities were equally likely to develop friendships with each other.
“We’re very excited to work with the National Inclusion Project to further open the Peer Play program to children with disabilities,” said Jordan McDonald, recreation coordinator for the Rockford Park District’s Therapeutic Department. “This will help enable us to give more children the chance to participate in activities they and their families may have never thought possible.”
National Inclusion Project
The National Inclusion Project, formerly the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. By providing curriculum, training and financial assistance, the project partners with communities and programs in creating awareness and opportunities for full inclusion where barriers break and doors open. It is their goal to create an environment for children where inclusion is embraced. To learn more about the National Inclusion Project or ways to get involved, visit their Web site at www.inclusionproject.org.
For additional information, contact Jordan McDonald at (815) 987-1609.
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