Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ascension Parish Inclusion League Kickoff

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of being a part of the kickoff of APIL (Ascension Parish Inclusion League) an all inclusive, non competive league for children of all abilities.

We attended a BREC tball game for a similar league in Baton Rouge to watch my neice's son, Abram, in the Spring of this year. My daughter, Betsey, was inspired to start something similar in Ascension Parish. She is graduating this December with a degree in Kinesiology and plans to work as a coach/teacher but has always had a passion for children with disabilities. Betsey contacted the Ascension Parish Recreation Department and things started rolling from there. The parish was very excited about the proposal and with their help, guided her through the necessary steps to make it happen. The Resoucre Center on Psychiatric and Behavorial Supports Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities came on board and applied for a grant. They were able to get the grant as part of "The Jambalaya Project" which will not only help fund this program but also programs in other parishes in the State. Representatives from several organizations have joined in the effort including Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge, COEA, ARC of Baton Rouge and ARC of Louisiana.
Everything started to fall into place and happening fast which tended to be a bit overwhelming for Betsey but with God's grace and blessing, we had the first event this past Saturday. Although there wasn't a huge attendance this first time, we know the program will mature and grow with time.
The first event was a "fun day" and a way to introduce the program to families as well as get input for future projects. We had sprinklers, a slip and slide, balls of every size shape and texture, arts and crafts, face painting, volleyball and a list of games and activities to draw from.
Here are a few pictures from the event.

What can be more fun than a slip and slide.
I think the water balloons were the biggest hit of the day. The parents and volunteers were on the receiving end of several balloons. Brother and sister getting in on the water balloon fun.
One of the children wanted to do the face painting instead of getting his face painted and several of the helpers volunteered for his request.
Paints, markers, paper and other crafts were available. A parent or guardian is required for each child and, as you can see, are very much a part of the activities.
I learned that there are many activities for a parachute but just having everyone lift it up and down was fun. The parents, friends and volunteers helped with this one.

The volunteers enjoyed the event as much as the children and were blessed to be a part of it.

As you can see, the volunteers enjoyed the water balloons also. All in all it was a great experience for all who participated.
If you are in the area, and want more information on the program for yourself, someone you know or to volunteer, call (225) 621-9661 or email Betsey at

If you aren't from the area and have a child with a disability or work with children with disabilities and have some activity ideas, please comment on my blog. I'm in charge of arts and crafts so would appreciate any input you may have.

No comments: