Partnership Creates Inclusive Powerhouse for Local Families

(Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) – In a continued effort to be fully inclusive, World Elite Kids (WEK) has partnered with the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) and Kent State University (KSU) to create a pilot program that can support local children with different abilities enrolled in their programs

“World Elite Kids provides gymnastics, ninja, tumbling and cheer classes for children six months and up,” explained Sarah Tedrick, General Manager of the Tallmadge location. “While we have always been inclusive, our CEO [Wanda Whipkey] wanted to bring in the experts, like Summit DD and KSU, to provide the resources and knowledge to take us to the next level on our inclusion journey.”  

World Elite Kids, Summit DD and KSU created a pilot program meant to support WEK students with different needs. The program, which began in September, will run through the fall class schedule. Kent State provided the students (majoring in Special Education or Physical Education) for the internships at WEK, which were a natural foundation to build from. Summit DD then provided inclusion training and tools for these interns, which are called Inclusion Specialists. Finally, World Elite Kids used the new knowledge from Summit DD, the skills of the KSU interns and incorporated both into their evening classes to provide enhanced support to local families who have additional needs.

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“This program helps provide real-world experiences for our students,” commented Julie Haines of Kent State University. “With the additional resources from Summit DD, our KSU students can recognize and support each child participating in these classes, making it easier for children of any ability to participate in activities!”

“We appreciate World Elite Kids for their desire to be inclusive and Kent State for the talent to help make this collaboration a reality,” expressed Summit DD Superintendent, Lisa Kamlowsky. “Programs like this help create a community where all people can feel included. We are so grateful for organizations like these that look for new ways to be inclusive.”

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Looking Ahead

World Elite Kids will continue the momentum going after the pilot program ends this fall.  “Our goal is to hire the Inclusion Specialist Interns from KSU, so that we can maintain the support and relationships permanently,” shared World Elite Kids CEO, Wanda Whipkey. “Just like we teach our kids, when we work together, we can do great things!” she added.

 

 

About Kent State University

Kent State University is the highest-ranking public university in Northern Ohio on the Top Public Schools and Best National Universities lists in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. Visit Kent.edu to learn more.

 

About Summit DD

Summit DD is the community resource that makes meaningful connections for more than 5,000 adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families. It is the Agency’s mission to help people of all abilities reach their full potential, one person at a time. Visit SummitDD.org for more information.

 

About World Elite Kids

With three locations in Brecksville, Tallmadge, and Powell, Ohio  World Elite Kids purposes to develop good character in confident, happy, healthy children through movement, exercise, gymnastics, tumbling and cheer! Visit WorldEliteKids.com for details on programs offered.

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