The National Inclusion Project, co-founded by entertainer Clay Aiken, announces over $700,000 of support to programs nationwide as part of their Let’s ALL Play initiative. In just three years, the Project has invested over $1.7 million to expand Let’s ALL Play across the country. Let’s ALL Play brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without. Children with disabilities and their peers who are typically developing come together to participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more.
The Project will support over 45 recreational programs in 23 states in 2010. In 2004, the Project instituted the inclusive recreational experience for children with and without disabilities. Since its inception, the Project has impacted over 20,000 children nationwide. One mother commented that while at camp "my son does not have Down syndrome, wear hearing aids, or have difficulty with his speech. He is simply a camper."
In 2008, the National Inclusion Project enlisted the services of the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to assess the implementation of Let’s ALL Play. Overwhelming evidence shows that campers with disabilities improve self-esteem, social skills, relationships with campers without disabilities, general engagement in camp activities, and sport/motor skills.
The National Inclusion Project looks to create communities where ALL children can learn, live, and play together. “Because of the continued support of our volunteers and supporters, the National Inclusion Project gives children the opportunity to experience inclusion for the first time. The children's experience will impact generations to come as they increase awareness of the importance of inclusion," said Clay Aiken.
Click here to see where the Project is working!