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UCP in Joliet raising funds for sensory walk through football pool

Donation must be received by noon Feb. 13.

The Melvin J. Larsen School at the United Cerebral Palsy Center for Disabilities Service in Joliet is creating will be a semi-permanent sensory walk that will be installed on the floors and hallways and on the playground.

Jump into the 2022 UCP-CDS GridIron Football Pool before noon on Feb. 13 and help a school that serves students with special needs raise money for a sensory walk.

So far the Melvin J. Larsen School at the United Cerebral Palsy-Center for Disabilities Services in Joliet has $8,000 toward the project, thanks to two grants, according to Joni Bolek, program director at the school.

But the total cost of the project, including installation, is approximately $30,000, which would include all components and the labor to install it, Bolek said.

“We’ll also look for volunteers – maybe students who need service hours,” Bolek said.

Gina Wysocki-Szpur, development director at United Cerebral Palsy-Center for Disability Services, said the sensory walk will be semi-permament and installed on the floors and walls in the agency.

“In addition, outdoor stenciled themes will be painted in the parking lot for community use as well,” Wysocki-Szpur said in an email.

The Melvin J. Larsen School at the United Cerebral Palsy Center for Disabilities Service in Joliet is creating will be a semi-permanent sensory walk that will be installed on the floors and hallways and on the playground.

Bolek said the school already has a sensory room and that the sensory walk in the building and on the playground will complement and enhance the benefits of that room.

“There are pathways the students can walk on that could be the alphabet, could be shapes,” Bolek said. “It also helps with coordination. You’ll see kids going from number one to number two, where they’re basically jumping from pad to pad.”

The sensory walk also will have places for students to put their hands and feet and do push-ups, which can also teach a child “left” and “right,” Bolek said. For older students, learning how to follow the directions will help them with job skills, she said.

The school currently has 30 students from pre-K through age 21, but the school can accomodate up to 50 students, Bolek said. The UCP website said the school serves students with autism, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, orthopedic or other health impairments and traumatic brain injury.

Wysocki-Szpur said the winners of the pool will be picked at random.

“Everyone has the same chance to win,” Wysocki-Szpur said.

She said to register as soon as possible. When the company running the pool locks the grid down, you can’t get back in, even if you’ve bought a square and hadn’t placed your name on it yet, Wysocki-Szpur said.

“Once it locks the grid down, you’re out,” Wysocki-Szpur said.

To register for the football pool, visit ucp-cds.org/2022-ucp-cds-gridiron-football-pool.

For information, visit ucp-cds.org.