DENVER, CO – The National Inclusion Project has partnered with Denver Parks and Recreation for one year to implement, Let’s All Play, an inclusion program for children with disabilities. Program participants can enjoy activities provided through the My Denver program in an inclusive setting, allowing them to increase their connection to education, recreation, and health programs through free access to Denver Public Libraries and Recreation Centers. As part of this initiative, the National Inclusion Project provides a program model, training, curriculum, and a cash grant of $10,000.
The Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken. It funds the Let’s All Play program, a research-validated national model that creates inclusive recreational experiences such as swimming, arts and crafts, social enrichment activities, sports, physical fitness and more.
This year, the Project is partnering with 85 recreational programs in 34 states. Teaming with Denver Parks and Recreation is another exciting step toward their goal of full inclusion. “We feel that working with Denver Parks and 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 of the National Inclusion Project.
In 2008, the Project enlisted the services of The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts in Boston to assess the implementation of Let’s All Play. Overwhelming evidence revealed that children with disabilities improved in the areas of self-esteem, social skills, confidence and motor skills, while children of all abilities developed lasting friendships with each other.
“It is our belief that kids with disabilities benefit tremendously when we serve them in a successful and meaningful way,” said Leah Huffer-Solomon, Adaptive Recreation Supervisor for Denver Parks and Recreation. “This program will give us the tools to ensure our staff has the proper training and education to provide new opportunities for these children that will not only help them grow, but will have a tremendous positive impact on our community as a whole.”
About the National Inclusion Project: The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap, which 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 kids with and without disabilities can experience lifelong 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 www.inclusionproject.org.