Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation

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The Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation (FVSRF) is an organization that supports the initiatives of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA). FVSRA’s mission is to empower individuals with disabilities to lead active, healthy, and fulfilling lives. They have a team of skilled and welcoming staff members who are trained to support people of all ages and abilities.

Programs and employment opportunities

FVSRA offers over 600 year-round programs that provide opportunities for participants to make friends, engage in new activities, and become part of a supportive community. They believe that everyone deserves access to leisure and recreation activities, and they strive to create an inclusive environment.

FVSRA also provides employment opportunities to both year-round and seasonal staff members. Their summer programs offer valuable internship opportunities for aspiring leaders in the field of park and recreation. Summer staff can work one-on-one with participants or lead classes, gaining valuable experience for their resumes while being part of a vibrant organization.

The Fox Valley Special Recreation Association is unique to Illinois and has received the highest designation of excellence as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency. They partner with seven area Park Districts or Departments to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to programs. FVSRA’s full-time staff members hold CTRS (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist) certifications, which demonstrate their expertise and mastery in therapeutic recreation.

New Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation initiatives

The FVSRF plays a vital role in funding many new initiatives. One notable initiative launched in 2022 is the SootheSpace. This initiative aims to create a culture that promotes the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of the community. SootheSpace provides a safe sensory oasis at outdoor festivals or special events where individuals with disabilities can regroup and recharge. The goal is for SootheSpace to become as common as first aid tents or kits, ensuring that people with disabilities can attend community events with support and without missing out on meaningful recreation. More information about SootheSpace can be found at

The FVSRF also supports other initiatives such as program scholarships, hardship grants, Break Bags, the Carolyn Nagle Sensory Room, the Dr. William Kelly Resource Library, Try a Class Pass, Virtual Reality at Summer Day Camps and Day Programs, and the SootheSpace.

The Foundation is expanding leadership opportunities through the Board of Shining Stars. This associate level board focuses on Community Cares, Community Outreach, and Fundraising. Individuals who are interested in getting involved to help make their community more inclusive are encouraged to contact the organization.

Spotlight welcomed Alex Engelhardt, the Executive Director of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Foundation, and Sami Bellino, a member of the Board of Shining Stars and FVSRA participant.