City of Waupaca Parks and Recreation Department Awarded 2022-23 Sparks Grant
Waupaca, Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI-BPDD) has awarded a 2022-23 Sparks grant to the City of Waupaca Parks and Recreation Department to host inclusive recreational programs for youth with and without disabilities.
The purpose of Sparks grants is to provide people with disabilities more social and meaningful connections, help organizations understand how to offer and implement more inclusive program and, ultimately, encourage community members to get to know someone with a disability and improve overall attitudes about people with disabilities. Sparks grants are small grants of $500 to $5,000 funded by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.
The Waupaca Area All-Stars was started with this grant funding. It’s a recreation program for youth ages 5-18 with disabilities. Adaptive activities include baseball, flag football, basketball, and gardening. Children will be paired with a volunteer buddy who will support them in the activities. “The goal of the program is for children with disabilities to socialize, form friendships and have fun with their non-disabled peers,” said Jennifer Shanak, a parent who wrote the grant.
Registration is now open. If interested, call 715-258-4435 or register through the Parks and Recreation Active Net. There is assistance available to help with the registration fee. The Waupaca Area All-Stars are also looking for mentors to work with the children with disabilities and community volunteers. Contact the number above if you would like to volunteer or donate to the program. For more information visit http://bit.ly/WAASinfo.
Several community partners are supporting this venture. Laura Colbert, Waupaca Parks and Rec Department Director said, “We are deeply invested in making sure that all of our community members feel as though they belong and have ample opportunities for a higher quality of life.”
The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities is charged under the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act with advocacy, capacity building, and systems change to improve self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life for people with developmental disabilities. General information on BPDD’s SPARKS grant program can be found at https://wi-bpdd.org/index.php/sparks-grants/.