The National Inclusion Project has partnered with the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson J) to enrich the Tucson J Summer Camp 2015 program. The goal of the partnership is to provide 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 $10,000 in grant funding, 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 Tucson J is one of just 13 new organizations that the National Inclusion Project has chosen to partner with in 2015. “We believe our partnership with The Tucson J will get us one step closer to making the inclusion of children with disabilities the expectation and not the exception,” says Jerry Aiken, National Inclusion Project Executive Director.
Todd Rockoff, President and CEO of the Tucson J adds, “We are proud of the work that we do and are honored to partner with the National Inclusion Project.”
Children with disabilities have been welcomed at the Tucson’s J’s summer camp, Camp J, since 1997. This partnership with the National Inclusion Project will help the Tucson J enrich staff knowledge of inclusion methods through new training methods, ensure the J’s program adheres to best practices, incorporate new games and activities, and provide scholarship funds for children with disabilities who otherwise could not participate due to financial need.
Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services at the Tucson J states, “We are eager to undertake new staff training opportunities and serve additional campers through our partnership with National Inclusion Project. Inclusion is such an important part of the Camp J experience, and these additional resources will help us reach our goal of continual improvement.”
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.
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, 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 their website at www.inclusionproject.org. On Facebook: www.facebook.com/inclusionproject, on Twitter: @includingkids.