KEEN Chicago: KEENSports Program

Laura Fillenwarth

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Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) Chicago provides free fitness and recreation programs to kids age 5-21 with disabilities. By pairing athletes 1:1 with a volunteer, KEEN is able to support individuals with more severe disabilities. Our programs are free of charge and provide respite and support to families, disability awareness training for our community of volunteers, but most importantly the opportunity for youth with disabilities to have fitness, fun and friendship at their level, celebrating their abilities. KEEN is a small program with one staff member. Within regular programming, volunteers are recruited who work 1:1 with our athletes to engage them in physical activity during programming. We serve 140 athletes with disabilities across the city of Chicago.

Our volunteers at KEEN Chicago are amazing. They always come prepared with unique ideas of how to engage our athletes and help them have fun at a session and develop friendships. In this photo, an adult volunteer humors one of our athletes by getting inside one of our tunnels which is typically used during our program for kids to crawl through and work on motor skills. Our athletes are often coming up with new and unique ways to use program equipment, and we try to take their lead and engage them in what they enjoy.

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