Civitans help create avenues for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to focus on their physical, emotional, and mental health while financially supporting integral research to bring better therapies and treatments.
WHY IS THIS IMPACT AREA IMPORTANT?
Individuals with I/DD are at a two-thirds higher risk of developing health conditions than individuals without disabilities. Also, more adequate funding is needed to research causes and therapies for disorders like autism and Down Syndrome. Civitans recognized these needs decades ago, when it assisted in the creation of the Civitan International Research Center (CIRC) which still serves as the organization’s main beneficiary and flagship project. Civitans continue to serve in this area through club projects like supporting inclusive recreation leagues and outdoor activities.
Civitans can enter the Health & Wellness space through a variety of impactful service projects and activities.
Here are just a few examples:
- Supporting or being involved in inclusive and adaptable sports teams, athletic teams, or sporting events such as Miracle League or Special Olympics
- Creating partnerships with agencies or individuals to become one-on-one fitness buddies (invite a person with I/DD on your every Tuesday evening walk!), or facilitating a fitness program designed for those with I/DD
- Funding, building, and/or helping maintain an accessible garden at a day program agency or residential facility – schedule weekly gardening classes to teach particpants the basics of gardening and nutrition, while enjoying time in mother nature!
- Plan and execute nutrition and/or cooking classes for individuals with I/DD
- Supporting or being involved in inclusive or adaptable outdoor recreation activities like camps, fishing, games, etc.
CLUBS MAKING AN IMPACT
CIVITAN INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER
The Civitan International Research Center (CIRC) was created in 1989 with a $20-million pledge from Civitan International. The CIRC is a world leader in the research and clinical care of intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and other brain-related disorders. Located at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the CIRC is home to over 100 laboratories working at all different levels to better understand neurodevelopmental disorders and discovering novel therapies to treat them. Research and clinical activities include such diseases and disorders as Alzheimer’s, autism, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Rett syndrome, schizophrenia, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury among others. Civitan International has fulfilled its original pledge of the CIRC, and at its July 2021 convention recommitted to supporting the amazing work there for the next four years.
DURANGO CIVITAN CLUB
For six years, the Durango, DeColores Civitan Club has participated along with other city volunteers in the Dream League, sponsored by the Durango Parks & Recreation department. Dream League has a summer adaptive softball program for players with disabilities, and an indoor floor hockey league in the fall. This program was launched in 2014 and we have seen an increase in players and volunteers participation. Many players advance each year from hitting off a tee to being able to take swings at live pitches from the volunteers. Each player is matched with at least one volunteer who helps the athletes bat, field and throw. High-fives are widely distributed, and so are the dance moves, as a mix of music is blasted over the speakers to add even more life to an already exciting event. Relationships are built and every player makes at least one new friend.
METRO ATLANTA CIVITAN CLUB
The club held their first community Family Health Fair on June 19, 2021 and had over 200 residents from a local apartment complex attend the inaugural event. The club organized the event and provided food and drinks while local health vendors educated the residents on many topics including nursing and rehabilitation, drug awareness, prevention services, Alzheimer’s research, mental and behavioral services, and more. Civitan members passed out club literature, specifically pertaining to the Civitan International Research Center to emphasize our flagship project and mission focused on helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
NORTH CENTRAL DISTRICT
Camp Civitan is a four-day camp for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities ranging from age 13 to 50+. The Civitan Club of Lenawee started this project in 1990, and it has now been adopted as the district’s project. This long weekend allows campers to take the time to enjoy themselves with friends while exploring the great Michigan outdoors. Activities include swimming, fishing, paddle boating, kayaking, outdoor games, crafts, karaoke, and a Saturday night dance. Camp Civitan utilizes an existing camp in the local area and works with the camp staff to provide the participants with a true camp experience year after year.
RESOURCES FOR CLUBS
- Click here to download Health & Wellness Supports One-Pager
- Click here to download Health & Wellness Horizontal Logo
- Click here to download Health & Wellness Round Logo
- Click here to find out more information about Club Project Grant Program
- Is your club already doing a project related to Family & Community Supports? Click here to tell us more so it can be added to the Impact Area club project library!