Kennedy Donovan Center and YMCA Cape Cod Collaborate to Create an Inclusive Adaptive Instructional Aquatic Series
The Kennedy-Donovan Center (KDC) supports people with developmental delays, disabilities or family challenges to pursue their personal potential and success in the community. The KDC provides a wide range of effective supports to individuals and families through prevention, advocacy and intervention services that are person-centered, innovative, and compassionate.
Through the generosity of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, KDC is partnering with the YMCA Cape Cod to create an opportunity for the individuals they support to receive aquatic instruction in an inclusive model. Classes were led by inclusion trained instructors for KDC swimmers ages 4-16 partnered with a similar aged swim peer buddies from the Cape Cod Swim Club and the community. Instructors guided swimmers with and without disabilities through techniques that focus on water acclimation and basic aquatic skills in a safe environment while promoting peer socialization, cooperative interaction and sensory exploration. Swim sessions will be offered through-out the year. Interested swimmers should reach out to Juliane Dillon, Outreach-Family Support Coordinator at the Kennedy-Donovan Center.
Also, through the Tower Foundation Grant, specialized inclusion training will be provided by MERGE Diverse Abilities Inclusion Consulting. Lisa Drennan, Founder of MERGE, will be providing training and coaching to the Cape Cod YMCA’s aquatics staff, instructors and peer mentors.
Drennan has a 35-year career supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She was the Director of the Sollar Wellness Center, a first-of-it-kind building offering recreation and education specifically designed to meet the needs of persons with developmental disabilities. In 2014, she joined the South Shore YMCA as the first-ever Association Director of Inclusion where she developed and implemented innovative programming paired with comprehensive staff training. She provided leadership on a national level as the Chair Person of the YUSA’s
Diverse Abilities Working Group, a platform of learning and sharing of best practices for Y’s across the country. Lisa founded MERGE in 2018 to build stronger communities by providing expert guidance, staff training and speaking engagements on inclusion of persons with diverse abilities.