Get Involved - Recreation
The Augustana Department of Theatre Arts and the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island are partnering to launch the Quad Cities Penguin Project, a program designed to create performance opportunities for children with developmental and learning disabilities including autism.
The Penguin Project® is a national non-profit organization with the vision of creating opportunities for children with special needs to participate in community theater and display their creative talents. This is accomplished with the assistance of multiple sites across the U.S.
Productions casts are children with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, learning disabilities, and other neurological and developmental disorders. They are partnered with Peer Mentors – a group of children who volunteer to work with the “Penguins” side-by-side through rehearsals and on stage.
The Penguin Project® demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences. Individuals with special needs are fully capable of participating in community activities with the same dedication and enthusiasm as others, if given the opportunity and support.
The Penguin Project®, founded by Dr. Andrew Morgan in 2003 in Peoria, Illinois, is a national non-profit organization with the vision of creating unrestricted access for children with special needs to the performing arts. This is accomplished with the assistance of multiple sites across the U.S. that produce a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical.
What makes these productions unique is young artists with special needs fill the acting roles. They are joined on stage by their “Peer Mentors,” a group of children the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through four months of rehearsals and the final production. The Penguin Project® demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences.
The origin of the name “Penguin Project” comes from the unique characteristics of penguins. They are extremely playful and curious, and work well together. More importantly, they have a “disability” that distinguishes them from other birds – they can’t fly. Instead, penguins waddle and toboggan on their bellies over the snow, and are excellent swimmers in the water. So, like our young artists, they have adapted to the challenges of their environment and have not allowed their unique difference to interfere with their lives.
“Our penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring.”
To learn more about the national Penguin Project of which the Quad Cities project is a chapter, look at this website: http://penguinproject.org/
The Center for Living Arts is at 2008 4th Avenue, Rock Island. (309)788-5433 www.centerforlivingarts.org.
Additional information is available from:
Professor Jeff Coussens
Chair, Department of Theatre Arts
639 38th Street
Rock Island IL 61201
ACOUSTICS MUSIC GROUP
Acoustics is for young adults interested in music. Meetings are Tuesdays from 4:40 p.m.-5:30 p.m. at River Music Experience, 129 N. Main Street, Davenport. The website is www.rivermusicexperience.org
Participants share music they like, play musical games, play musical instruments, and have performers attend to play concerts for them. West Music, which formed the group, has specially trained personnel who will teach music lessons to those with disabilities. For more information call West music at (309)764-9300.
YOUNG ADULT BOWLING LEAGUE
League members bowl on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. at the Quad City Entertainment Center, 4401 44th Avenue, Moline. Call (309)517-1158 for more information. The bowlers have a variety of mental and physical disabilities.
MOLINE CHALLENGER LEAGUE
A division of Little League the Challenger Division offers girls and boys, beginning at age 5 and up with physical and mental disabilities, the opportunity to play unrestricted baseball regardless of their ability.
Contact Information: Pam Swim (309)786-3097 or Jan Garlock (309)786-8319
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
IA/IL SPECIAL OLYMPICS
To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Contact Information: Iowa-Nancy Shannon 563-285-8185 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois-Cathy Betar 309-734-5903 or email@example.com
NEW KINGDOM TRAIL RIDERS
Provides therapeutic horseback riding program known as “Mounted Achievers” this is an alternative type of physical therapy and rehabilitation to the mentally and physically handicapped of the Greater Quad Cities and surrounding communities. NKT provides affordable riding lessons to people representing ages ranging between three and adult with a variety of disabilities.
Contact Information: 309-787-0627 or 309-764-4220