Those helping disabled also deserve recognition
Many people have been recognized for their work during this pandemic. This praise is well deserved. We would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank an additional group of individuals who have made a difference: The dedicated people who work at our Special Recreation Associations, specifically Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) and North Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), as well as Special Olympics Illinois.
These organizations serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Throughout the year, they offer programs, activities, clubs, trips and athletics to persons of all ages. Deep friendships develop among the participants as well as with the staff. For many, NWSRA, NSSRA and Special Olympics Illinois are the only avenues available for socializing.
When the pandemic hit, along with everyone else, the disabled community had to shelter-in-place resulting in the abrupt stoppage of all programming. Within a week of this happening, NWSRA, NSSRA and Special Olympics Illinois developed a multitude of virtual group activities, including one-to-one conversations with participants, virtual exercise classes, dances, singalongs and the list goes on. There were also drive-by parades.
Both of our sons are actively involved with these organizations. They are using these virtual activities to connect with friends, stay fit and have something to look forward to every weekday. These programs have significantly alleviated the isolation so many have endured during this time of pandemic.
Assuredly, there are many other Special Recreation organizations throughout Illinois that may be offering similar programs. Our hats are off to all of them. We have always valued what Special Recreation Associations and Special Olympics Illinois do. Over these past several months, they have far exceeded our expectations and for that we profoundly thank them.
Micki and Ron Coppel