News

UDS and National Inclusion Project Continues Partnership

National Inclusion Project Logo

February 28, 2017

Akron, Ohio -- The National Inclusion Project is partnering with United Disability Services (UDS) for a second year to continue the inclusive Club Teamwork program at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. 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 National Inclusion Project helped UDS set up this program through the high school last fall and provides an inclusive environment where students with and without disabilities can share their talents, build lasting friendships, and make a positive impact in their community. Fourteen students attended the first session and the program has grown to 40 students from all grade levels.

Each week students participate in various fun activities after school including arts and crafts, cooking activities, games and community projects. Students recently participated in two popular activities which included creating a miniature golf course using recycled materials and a sock donation drive. The Club’s original goal was to collect 500 pairs of new socks. At the end of the six-week drive, the club collected more than 2,000 pairs of news socks that will be distributed to seven local charities.

“It has been great to witness students, who might not cross paths during their school day, come together to work on a project and build new friendships. In a recent survey one of the students wrote, ‘I love the idea of inclusion. I love that we now offer a place where anyone can come and make new friends, while also learning how to make fun crafts, food and play games.’” said Danielle Marino, UDS recreational coordinator. 

“We were excited to see how much Club Teamwork has grown this past year. The positive feedback from the students and the community service component have really been great to see. It will be a pleasure to continue our partnership and see what the students come up with next!,” says Nick Leisey, executive director of the National Inclusion Project.

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 sports, 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.

“The Let’s ALL Play model of inclusion is a great complement to the agency’s inclusive programming. With the support of the National Inclusion Project we are able to expand inclusionary activities into the local school system enabling us to touch the lives of more children,” said Laurie Freedman, UDS director of respite & community living services. “We are honored to be able to continue our partnership with this extraordinary nationwide initiative.”

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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 twelve years, the Project has provided training, curriculum, and support to YMCAs, JCCs, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H, Camp Fire USA, children’s 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 their website at www.inclusionproject.org.