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Lincoln Middle School in Berwyn

2013 saw the 10th year that eigth-grade students from Lincoln Middle School in Berwyn have participated in UCP Seguin's Youth Leadership & Disability Awareness unit. As part of this program, students read the novel "The Man Who Loved Clowns" by June Rae Wood and completed activities designed to promote understanding and friendship between students and those with developmental disabilities and other special needs.

Walk-A-Thon

On October 12, 2013, Lincoln Middle School eigth graders took to the field house at Morton West High School for their 10th annual 10k to benefit UCP Seguin. Over the past 9 years, the Lincoln Walk-A-Thon has raised over $70,000 for UCP Seguin and has provided participants with a fully equipped fitness center and exercise programs.

UCP Seguin Social

Gaining understanding of those with special needs is the cornerstone of the Youth Leadership & Disability Awareness Program. Lincoln Middle School students get this lesson first-hand at the "UCP Seguin Social". Lincoln students host a reception for UCP Seguin participants at the school - complete with pizza, dancing and making friends.

June Rae Wood Visit

June Rae Wood, author of "The Man Who Loved Clowns" pays a special visit to Lincoln Middle School each year to give students an inside look into her novel. June's book is based on her own personal experiences of having a brother with special needs. Her unique and personal stories bring the characters to life and are always a favorite part of the unit for students and staff alike.

Cicero Public School District 99

Once again in 2013, students in Cicero Public School District 99 participated in UCP Seguin's Youth Leadership & Disability Awareness Program during the month of March - Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. All 5th and 8th grade students took part reading either "What's Wrong With Timmy?" by Maria Shriver or "The Man Who Loved Clowns" by June Rae Wood and completeing activities related to developmental disabilities and other special needs.

Percy Julian and Gwendolyn Brooks Middle Schools in Oak Park

In 2012, District 97 in Oak Park, partnered with UCP Seguin and the Youth Leadership & Disability Awareness Program as part of the ReelAbilities Chicago Film Festival. All 6th, 7th and 8th Grade students at Gwendolyn Books and Percy Julian Middle Schools in Oak Park participated in a group read of June Rae Wood's "The Man Who Love Clowns". Upon receiving grants from the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township and the Rotary Club of Oak Park - River Forest, District 97 and UCP Seguin were able to expand the program in 2013. Grant funds were used to purchase new books for the 7th and 8th Grade classes - Rules by Cynthia Lord for 7th Grade and Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper for 8th Grade. These novels provide all Middle School students in Oak Park the opportunity to embrace their differences and promote an open dialogue about people living with special needs.

Rotary Club of Oak Park - River Forest

The Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest has been especially generous in support of UCP Seguin’s Youth Leadership & Disability Awareness Project. Over the past three years this Club has contributed $3,000 toward the purchase of books to be used by middle school students in the Oak Park-River Forest area. For example in 2013, with help from the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest in 2013, we purchased new books for the 7th and 8th grade students at Brooks and Julian Middle Schools in Oak Park to read aloud during “Reading Advisories”. 6th Graders at both schools continued to read The Man Who Loved Clowns as all students in both schools did last year. This book features a man with Down syndrome and his relationship to his middle-school-aged niece. 7th graders used the newly purchased book Rules by Cynthia Lord. This book focuses on an individual with autism. 8th graders used the new book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. This book features a person with cerebral palsy. In total between the two schools 1800 students participated in gaining additional awareness of and sensitivity to people with disabilities.

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