The National Inclusion Project has partnered for a third year with the City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation Program to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs. As a part of this initiative, the National Inclusion Project provides a program model, expertise, and an award of $6,000 to training to staff who work with children with disabilities.
Eugene is a national leader in inclusion and this partnership has furthered the City’s ability to give children with disabilities the support they need to enjoy successful recreational experiences in an inclusive setting. The grant from the National Inclusion Project has helped Adaptive Recreation serve more than 180 children over the past two years, providing accommodation or special assistance as needed, so that they can play alongside of other children.
The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken. The Project works to bridge the gap between young people with disabilities and the world around them by opening doors for all children to be included together. This is primarily achieved through recreational programs and training to make after school programs, summer camps and classroom activities inclusive for all children.
Its Let’s ALL Play program is a research-validated national model funded by the Project that brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without disabilities. All children come together to participate in typical recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more.
In 2013, the Project is partnering with 85 recreational programs in 34 states. Teaming with the City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation is another exciting step toward their goal of full inclusion. “We feel that working with City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation 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.
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. Children of all abilities were equally likely to develop friendships with each other.
About the National Inclusion Project: The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. They partner with communities and programs to teach others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience life - long benefits. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and in the classroom, children of all abilities learn, play and serve together. To date, the Project has partnered with over 200 programs nationally and has impacted over 50,000 children. For more information on the National Inclusion Project and to help ensure no child sits on the sidelines visit their website at http://www.inclusionproject.org.
Established in 1969, City of Eugene Adaptive Recreation Services is the primary public provider of community recreation services for people with disabilities in the Eugene area. Adaptive Recreation Services is based in the Hilyard Community Center, a model, accessible facility. Direct services include recreational and educational programs, health and wellness classes, seasonal camps, visual and performing arts adapted to serve people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. Adaptive Recreation provides inclusion services and trainings to make City recreation activities accessible.