On April 9 -10, the National Inclusion Project presented an outstanding conference titled, The Power of Play. Held at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, the 2 day event hosted people from all over the United States.
The National Inclusion Project was founded in 2003 by Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel. They created a foundation that focused on providing the support system for recreational and educational programs around the country to open doors to children with disabilities that had thus far remained closed.
Today, The National Inclusion Project is a leading voice for inclusion working with a “Who’s Who” list of youth organizations – YMCAs, Best Buddies International, Boys & Girls Clubs, CampFire USA, 4H, the ARC – as well as many other local parks and recreation departments, community centers, and privately-run programs.
The Power of Play conference presented the latest in inclusive practices. It included training on serving families effectively, building lifelong friendships for children, achieving positive behaviors, preventing and handling bullying, and creating accessible activities among other topics. The inspiring event was attended by people who desire to ensure no child sits on the sidelines.
The conference featured special guests who had shared their knowledge with the attendees.
Tim Harris talked about the power of inclusion, and how he was empowered to follow his dream to open his own restaurant. Tim was born with Down Syndrome but has exceeded all expectations. During college, he lived in the dorms and earned certificates in Food Service Office Skills and Restaurant Hosting.
Dwayne Ballen was the closing Keynote Speaker. He is the author of the recently released book, “Journey With Julian”, about his family’s life with his eldest son (Julian) who has autism.
The two days were filled with many attendees sharing the things that have worked for them. On both days, the group participated in games and lessons that can be adapted so that all kids can participate.
On Thursday afternoon, Clay Aiken stopped by to say hello. He talked for a few moments about how the National Inclusion Project started and how hard it was at the beginning to get the local YMCA to include all students. He made a point of thanking each member of the staff by name and said he was grateful for each person who was there to learn. Then Clay introduced Dwayne Ballen.
On his way out, Clay took the time to speak with many of the attendees and even took a few “selfies” with them.
Twitter was filled with lots of comments and pictures of the events and it was fun to read about the excitement that was a part of the event.
— Nat’l Incl Project (@includingkids) April 10, 2014
The pictures used in this article are from The National Inclusion Website. Have you visited this site? It is filled with so much information about the organization and about Inclusion. Why don’t you give it a visit!