The NSYMCA, located in Northbrook, has made a concerted effort to make full inclusion a reality. Its athletic and aquatic programs offer classes specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, and the Y provides staff and volunteers to assist participants in programs and during transitions. The Y’s commitment also extends to dramatic renovations to make the 42-year-old building ADA accessible. Last summer, the Y installed a new playground designed with wide ramps, low entry points, and sloping curbs for maximum accessibility, and also opened a new passenger elevator to improve access to the lower level classrooms, locker rooms and swimming pool. More upgrades are planned as part of a major overhaul funded by the Y’s ongoing Capital Campaign, with the goal of creating a completely accessible facility. “We want our Y to be a second home for the entire community,” said Howard Schultz, NSYMCA Executive Director/CEO. “It’s central to our mission that everyone feels welcome and included, and we’ll take whatever steps are necessary to make that happen.”
JJ’s List, founded by community activist JJ Hanley in 2008, is a non-profit source for information and education regarding the needs of disabled persons. The organization offers internet and job training for special needs individuals, as well as training for businesses on how to support customers and employees with disabilities. JJ’s List also sponsors a website that posts consumer reviews of the disability awareness of local businesses. The “Bridge Builder Benefit,” to be held at Pinstripes in Northbrook, will raise funds to support the full range of JJ’s List programs. The honorees for the evening also include Whole Foods Market South in Evanston and Forrest’s Duxler Complete Auto Care in Wilmette.
JJ Hanley credits the Y’s Howard Schultz as a person who “never says ‘maybe’ when it comes to inclusion of all members in the organization’
For tickets to the JJ’s List Bridge Builder Benefit, visit http://www.bridgebuilderbenefit2011.eventbrite.com. For information regarding programs at the North Suburban YMCA, visit http://www.nsymca.org.
About the North Suburban YMCA
The YMCA is a not-for-profit entity and relies on donations to fund capital improvements and transform the facility. All board members are community volunteers, who donate their time, talents and financial resources. Located at 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook, the YMCA has served area families in its fourteen-city region for over 40 years. The Y is about youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, providing programs and services that meet the needs of our community and are accessible to all. For more information or to make a donation call Lee Ann Johnson at 847-272-7250, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nsymca.org.