Pro golfers took a break Tuesday from preparations for the upcoming Rust-Oleum Championship at Ivanhoe Club near Mundelein to spend part of their day trying other games with developmentally disabled clients of Orchard Village in Skokie.
Adaptive tennis, a version of the sport designed to be played by people with disabilities, was among the highlights, along with games of Jenga and Connect Four.
They even got to play golf, although it was the video game version. Orchard Village clients and golf pros played Wii Golf on a new 80-inch TV donated by Rust-Oleum. The Vernon Hills-based company also donated oversized Jenga sets and a big version of Connect Four to Orchard, a nonprofit organization that helps people with developmental disabilities find places to live, work and obtain a sense of community.
Orchard CEO Allison Stark said bigger versions of games are better for residents who have trouble with fine-motor skills.
"For some people with developmental disabilities it can be more difficult to access leisure activities," Stark said. "That's why we have an adaptive therapeutic recreation program."
Golf pros teamed with residents for some games, including one requiring partners to press a tennis ball between two rackets and balance it while they walked across a parking lot.
Among those taking it all in was Donna Pleason, a board member for Orchard Village since 1991. Her sister, Nadine, has been a client at Orchard since 1980 and her time there has been transformative.
"Her life actually began that day," Donna Pleason said of Nadine's first day at Orchard Village. "She made friends, began doing activities ... she had a purpose."
Orchard Village is a charity partner for the Rust-Oleum Championship, which means it will receive a portion of tournament profits. Last year, the tournament raised $141,000 for charity, a figure organizers hope to double this year.
The tournament begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. For more information on the Rust-Oleum Championship, visit rustoleumchampionship.com.