Fox Valley Special Recreation Association's joint programs empower people with special needs

  • One of three Western DuPage Special Recreation Association social clubs gathers in person to participate in the May 7 digital dance party, hosted by Fox Valley Special Recreation Association.

    One of three Western DuPage Special Recreation Association social clubs gathers in person to participate in the May 7 digital dance party, hosted by Fox Valley Special Recreation Association. Courtesy of Eric Smith

 
 
Updated 5/11/2021 12:49 PM

When the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have no end in sight, the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association in Aurora knew people with special needs were experiencing isolation not only in their service area, but throughout the Chicago area.

As 100% of FVSRA's life-changing therapeutic programs were successfully meeting online, they invited other special recreation associations in Illinois to share resources and make a greater impact.

 

"When SRAs come together and work collaboratively, the benefits are immediate. Cooperative programs like our Digital Dance Nights and Trivia Nights maximize opportunities for the disability community to step outside their typical social circle and meet new people," says FVSRA's Superintendent of Recreation Jackie Salemi. "They allow us as a service provider to maximize efforts and capitalize on the talent and expertise of other Certified Therapeutic Recreation Professionals."

Inter-agency collaborations, like this one held on May 7, where Western DuPage Special Recreation Association and two other special recreation associations joined a FVSRA digital dance party, have created special opportunities to empower people with special needs.

"Dances are one of THE most popular programs at WDSRA. Our participants love dancing, listening to music, and being able to socialize with their peers. When FVSRA contacted us to join in on their virtual dance party I didn't give it a second thought," says WDSRA Program Supervisor Katie Lyter. "This was perfect for our WDSRA social clubs. We had three different social clubs joining in on the fun at three separate locations."

FVSRA's contribution in collaborative programming was recognized by the Therapeutic Recreation Section of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association in 2021.

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Other collective recipients of the Outstanding Special Event of the Year Award include Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association, Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, and Warren Special Recreation Association (WSRA).

Salemi adds, "Through a shared vision and passion for meeting the needs of all, inter-agency collaborations lend way to innovative and impactful recreation programming."

For information, visit www.fvsra.org.

On Friday, June 18, FVSRA will host a "Beach Party Bingo" fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora. Join in a bingo tournament featuring big prizes, food, beer and wine, and an evening away with friends.

It's simple, play 10 rounds of bingo while eating unlimited tacos. It wouldn't be a beach party without unlimited drinks as well. Enter for only $50 per person to support people with special needs and have a good time. For tickets, visit www.fvsra.org/bingo.

Fox Valley Special Recreation Association was formed in 1976 and is an extension of the Batavia, Fox Valley, Geneva, Oswegoland, St. Charles, Sugar Grove park districts, and South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department to provide a diverse range of year round recreational activities to enable residents with disabilities to experience active, healthy and playful lifestyles.

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