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LWSRA raises funds for programs, promotes inclusivity through Jumpfest

To help ensure that local children do not succumb to cabin fever during the winter months, at which point there’s often a lull in community event offerings, the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association hosted its annual Jumpfest Saturday, Jan. 27, at its New Lenox facility.

The event was open to the community, and it served, in part, as the organization’s fundraiser.

“We hold it for pretty much the [same] reasons why we hold a lot of our community events: it’s just for awareness,” said Karyn Reczek, marketing, outreach and fundraising coordinator for LWSRA. “We know that everybody knows someone with special needs.”

LWSRA dedicated the first hour of play for parents and children with special needs to try everything out.

“We actually had our staff out there talking to the people that were there were not familiar with us,” Reczek said. “We got three of them that now want to do some [LWSRA] programs.”

LWSRA prides itself on continually looking to make its presence known in the community. They offer Special Olympic and adaptive sports, as well as social recreation programs, for individuals who have physical and cognitive disabilities through a special cooperative agreement with the Frankfort, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox, Peotone, and Wilmington Island park districts.

“We find there’s so many people who aren’t aware of who we are, so we’re out there to tell them who we are and what we offer to the community,” Reczek said.

Funds raised through Jumpfest support LWSRA scholarships.

“We do get quite a number of scholarship requests every year,” Reczek said.

Last year, Jumpfest brought in 212 jumpers to take part in the festivities. Reczek said she thinks they’re fairly close to being on target with that this year.

Jumpers were met by a number of different jumpies to try out, with two of them set up for smaller children, as well as slides, an obstacle course and other similar type apparatus.

“It’s just a good time,” Reczek said. “It’s a nice way for parents to get the kids out of the house in the middle of winter.”

Reczek said when there’s a lull in activities during the winter months for families to take part in, the LWSRA is happy to meet the community’s need.

“Even though today was a really nice, it’s just nice to be able to have the kids come out and do something locally,” she said. “You don’t have to travel far for it, and they can just come out and play.”

Jumpfest is made possible thanks, in part, to its volunteers. Students came out from many of the area schools, including Providence Catholic High School and Lincoln-Way East, Central and West high schools.

“We had an awesome turnout,” Reczek said. “We had 28 volunteers come out. I put them into two shifts, and they’ve just been phenomenal. … I couldn’t run this without the volunteers.”

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