The Sherlock Center is in its fourth year of the Access for All Abilities Mini-Grant initiative. To date, 19 businesses and organizations received a total of $40,000 to increase access to social, leisure, recreational and cultural activities for individuals with disabilities.
Recipients of the 2012 grants are Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA, New Urban Farmers, and Rhode Island Zoological Society.
Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club
The Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club will use its grant to expand a program which supports elementary school children who are on the autism spectrum to participate in the Club's summer program. This program is in its third year. Over 500 children participate in summer programs at the Club. With support, children on the autism spectrum will participate in the typical camp activities alongside all members. Funds will be used to provided materials in accessible format and to support training for staff and peer mentors.
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council
The Blackstone Valley Explorer is a 40-passenger riverboat, the only one of its kind on the Blackstone River. Since 1993, when the boat cruises began, more than 25,000 passengers annually have come from local, national and global destinations to take 45 minute narrated tours along sections of the Blackstone River. Blackstone Valley Tourism Council will use its grant funding to customize an access ramp for its Blackstone Riverboat, "Explorer", and to purchase a portable ramp to allow wheelchair access to the riverboat from a floating dock.
East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA
The YMCA of Greater Providence reaches 22 Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts communities through its member based branches and community outreach. East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA will use its award to improve access to existing areas within the facility. Locker room showers will be equipped with hand-held shower heads and shower seats, and changes will be made to allow accessible access to the new member consultation area.
New Urban Farmers
New Urban Farmers (FUF) works to increase healthy food access in the cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls by eliminating barriers to healthy food and empowering low-income individuals and families with education and collaboration. To accomplish this mission, NUF works with the city, reclaiming urban land and transforming it into community gardens. New Urban Farmers will use the award to create accessible raised garden beds at its three community garden sites. These changes will increase access to new and existing programs and classes.
Rhode Island Zoological Society
One of our nation's oldest zoos (opened in 1872), Roger Williams Park Zoo is an integral part of southern New England's history and heritage, bringing excitement and discovery of the natural world to generations of visitors. Today the Zoo is one of Rhode Island's top tourist attractions, welcoming over half a million people annually from all over New England and beyond Rhode Island Zoological Society will use the grant money at the Park's ZooCamp, which provides camp activities to preschoolers through fifth-graders during the winter, spring and summer school vacations. Funds will be used to purchase resources to adapt program materials to meet the needs of all children and to provide training to camp staff to support campers with disabilities as they participate in typical camp activities.