ADAPTING TO NEW WAYS, CONTIUNING TO HELP RESIDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AURORA–Since March, many of us have felt challenged to find a new definition of recreational and social activities. I have seen Zoom parties, Zoom fitness, virtual races, classes and club meetings among several in-person, social distanced activities. The Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA), who provides a diverse range of programs to enable residents with disabilities of all ages to experience active, healthy, and playful lifestyles, was met with the same challenges.
“Within the last few months, we’ve transitioned to virtual programs,” says Alex Engelhardt, FVSRA Executive Director. “We’ve provided over 75 virtual and modified in-person programs per week ranging from fitness, arts and crafts, educational programs, dances and more.”
FVSRA, formed in 1976, is an extension of the Batavia, Fox Valley, Geneva, Oswegoland, St. Charles, Sugar Grove Park Districts and South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department. By providing support, fitness, education, and recreation to over 1200 individuals with disabilities a year, they empower their participants to reach their maximum capabilities using the least restrictive environment. “FVSRA provides a sense of purpose and feeling of belonging,” says Alex. She explains that along with support, they focus on volunteerism within their programs including showing appreciation for our first responders, being a companion to someone in a nursing home, hosting a coat drive, or cleaning up a park after and event. “We rely on our community for support and are so thankful we can support them in return.”
Funding for scholarships and special projects such as the Carolyn Nagle Sensory Room and the Dr. William Kelly Resource Library comes from the Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation (FVSRF) which typically hosts two large scale fundraisers throughout the year, but both were canceled due to Covid-19. FVSRF is looking to raise funds and awareness on a smaller, more intimate level through Friend-raisers. They have created three Friend-raiser kits including a Bags Tournament, Outdoor Movie and Left Center Right game, or you can create your own that is unique to you and your friends. They are also looking for dedicated volunteers to assist with programs and special events. Maybe you have a passion you would like to teach to their participants, or you have time to be a listening ear to someone in need.
For more information on FVSRA and their programs or volunteering, visit www.fvsra.org and if hosting a Friend-raiser is interesting to you, visit www.fvsrf.org/host-a-friendraiser.
ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.