The National Inclusion Project has partnered again with the Rockford Park District to create an inclusive environment where children with and without disabilities can play, learn, and laugh TOGETHER.
As part of the partnership, the National Inclusion Project provides the Let’s ALL Play program model, training, expertise, annual Power of Play Conference, and a wide network of inclusion experts ready to problem solve and share best practices on ensuring that no child sits on the sidelines.
The Rockford Park District is one of the select organizations that the National Inclusion Project has chosen to partner with for a third year. “We are excited to continue our work with the Therapeutic Recreation department to enhance the inclusive opportunities for the children in this community,” says Nick Leisey, National Inclusion Project Executive Director.
The partnership will provide training, expertise, and an award of $5,000. The grant will allow the Therapeutic Recreation department to hire two staff members this summer to provide inclusion serves at Summer Blast. Inclusion within the Rockford Park District means individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate in the same recreation programs and activities as their peers. Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an individual’s successful participation in a program. “We are very excited to continue working with the National Inclusion Project, who has helped open doors for ALL children to learn, live, and play together,” said Karin Kellogg, Therapeutic Recreation Manager.
Research shows overwhelming evidence that the Let’s ALL Play model helps children with disabilities improve self-esteem, social skills, and confidence, while those without disabilities improved their leadership, problem solving, and empathy skills. The model makes it possible for all children to come together and participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness, and more. More importantly, it allows children with and without disabilities to create friendships that may have not been possible in other parts of their lives.
About the Rockford Park District’s Therapeutic Recreation Department: The Rockford Park District was formed in 1909, and is in its second century of service. It is the second largest park and recreation system in Illinois, and has twice been awarded the prestigious National Gold Medal for excellence in parks and recreation management, and is a Distinguished Agency, professionally accredited for high standards and superior services.
The Therapeutic Recreation team of the Rockford Park District is committed to providing community based recreation to promote the development, maintenance, and expression of a meaningful leisure lifestyle to people with disabilities. The department delivers services promoting and/or providing access, inclusion, specialty recreation, leisure education, and skill development. For more information about Therapeutic Recreation, please visit www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/tr or call 815-987-1606.
About the National Inclusion Project: The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken, and serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and community based activities, children of all abilities learn, play, and laugh together. Over the last 12 years, the Project has provided training, curriculum, and support to YMCAs, JCCs, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H, CampFire USA, kids museums, zoos, and other community organizations looking to become inclusive or enhance their inclusive programs. For more information on the National Inclusion Project and to help ensure no child sits on the sidelines, visit www.inclusionproject.org.