UNION COUNTY, NJ — According to a Jan. 27 press release by the N.J. Department of Community Affairs, $585,000 was awarded in grants for Recreational Opportunities for Disabled Individuals by Gov. Chris Christie and his administration. The grants were awarded to two counties and 29 municipalities through the Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities program. The program ensures that all accommodations are made for individuals with disabilities participating in the programs. The grants also help local governments meet the requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A number of community programs are supported by the Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities program such as athletics, performing arts and leisure activities such as after school programs, team sports, visual arts, storytelling and cooking classes. The classes are provided to children and adults with disabilities and are designed to emphasize positive reinforcement, social interaction and community awareness, according to the press release.
A grant in the amount of $35,000 was awarded to Union County for inclusive special events for individuals with disabilities, according to the press release.
“This year’s events include a skating event scheduled for March 5 at Warinanco Park called ‘Lace Up Your Skates,’ Director of Communications Sebastian D’elia of the Union County Public Information Office told LocalSource on Feb. 2.
“There will also be a ‘Night Out with the Devils’ in early April, Summer Carnival on June 10 at Conant Park in Hillside, Hayride at Trailside in October and Barn Dance on Nov. 5 at Masker’s Barn. The goal of the 2017 ROID program is to create inclusive social event programs, while also enhancing our annual programs of Summer Carnival and Barn Dance. This will give the Department’s Office of the Disabled opportunities to offer different types of programs for our current participants and also encourage new individuals to join and learn about what we have to offer.”
According to the press release, Linden received a grant in the amount of $15,505. The project description reads that recreational opportunities with be provided for Linden’s disabled population.
When LocalSource contacted Linden’s Department of Recreation, no one was able to comment prior to press time Feb. 7.
Roselle also received a grant in the amount of $15,000 according to the press release. The borough will provide a summer program with a variety of recreation, leisure and enrichment activities for children with disabilities. They will also provide leisure and enrichment activities for children with special needs.
When Roselle’s Director of Recreation Donald Shaw was contacted by LocalSource, no comment was received prior to press time Feb. 7.
Summit received a grant in the amount of $21,600 according to the press release. The recreation programs and special events will be coordinated by the TryCAN program, a collaboration with nearby communities that offers recreation programs for children with special needs or those who need special accommodation.
“This is an annual grant with 11 collaborating communities and dozens of programs,” Summit’s Public Information Officer Amy Cairns told LocalSource in an email on Feb. 2. “The Summit Department of Community Programs is the lead agency in providing special needs programming for the TryCAN Collaboration and runs about 20 to 25 recreation programs throughout the year.
Other towns are invited to participate in the TryCAN Collaboration and Summit offers our programs to non-residents. Besides Summit, 10 other towns involved this year are New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Millburn, Mountainside, Maplewood, Springfield, South Orange, Union, Cranford and Madison.
Experienced adult volunteers run the programs, but they also bring in volunteer teen mentors to help the youth successfully participate in the programs.”
Union received $20,000, according the the press release. The grant will go toward an inclusive after-school art, gym and music program for children ages six to nine who are developmentally disabled, according to a Feb. 3 email from Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas. The goal of the program is to provide inclusive recreational activities between general education students and special needs students while building social skills in a variety of leisure settings, according to the email.
“The Township matches 25 percent of the total grant awarded from the state as a commitment to the award,” Cavadas told LocalSource in the email.