Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities

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Access for All Abilities Mini Grant Initiative - Past Recipients

2017 Recipient | Grant Overview

2016 Recipients

2nd Story Theatre has a mission to provide plays accessible to both traditional theatre-goers and new audiences. The Theatre has steadily worked to make their facility physically accessible since purchasing the building in 2003. 2nd Story Theatre will use its grant to purchase and install a commercial door opening system. The change will allow for independent and barrier-free exterior access to the Theatre.

Exeter Public Library is a municipal public library serving the town of Exeter and surrounding communities. Their facilities include a full-service library and playground, Chelsea Park. The Library will use its grant to purchase a two-bay ADA Combination Swing Set for Chelsea Park. The swing set will have a molded swing for children to be lifted into and a wheelchair swing that an adult or child in a wheelchair can use while remaining in their chair. The playground landscape is handicapped accessible, however, the equipment is not. The installation of the new swing set is the first step towards providing an inclusive space for families and children.

Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) is a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space that hosts art exhibits, theater and dance performances, film screenings, and provides art and design educational programs for people of all ages. JAC will use its grant to host a series of trainings for its staff and instructor to better support individuals with disabilities within their typical programs. Funds will also be used to purchase adaptive equipment and art supplies. JAC will work closely with several partners in the disability community to encourage greater participation of individuals with disabilities in their programs.

North Kingstown Free Library (NKFL) is a municipal library serving residents in the town of North Kingstown and statewide via the Ocean State Libraries consortium. In addition to offering physical and digital collections, their programs include lectures, workshops, concerts, movies, story-times, presentations, book discussions, etc. NKFL plans to use its grant to install an induction hearing loop in their meeting room space. The meeting room is physically accessible, and now the hearing loop will allow better access to programming for those with hearing loss.

Ocean Community YMCA offers a wide range of social and leisure programs and classes at its three branches and at Camp Watchaug, as well as community events such as Healthy Kids Day, holiday gatherings, and races. The YMCA will use its grant funds to train an employee to become certified as an Adaptive Sailing Instructor and to purchase equipment that will allow campers of all abilities to safely participate in sailing.


2015 Recipients

Coggeshall Farm Museum provides visitors with the opportunity to explore 18th-century farm life in Rhode Island. The Coggeshall Museum used it grant to install a permanent and portable ramp to provide access to the 1790's farmhouse and a restroom at the farm.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary (NBS) offers seven miles of hiking trails, camp and educational programs, as well as public programs and events. The NBS used its award to contribute to the creation of an ADA-compliant Universal Trail that allows access to individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. The new trail opened November 2015.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church offers a variety of social activities, performances, and events, as well as community support services. Pilgrim Lutheran Church purchased items to address visual and auditory needs of individuals participating in services and public events, including large print or Braille books, large print programs, and an FM assistive listening system. The grant is also hoping to fund an American Sign Language interpreter for social activities.

Youth Pride, Inc., (YPI) supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth and young adults. YPI's runs a drop-in center dedicated to meeting the needs of young people, ages 13 - 23, impacted by their sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression. YPI is providing professional development training to its staff to help them better serve youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


2014 Recipients

Audubon Society of Rhode Island
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island resurfaced the meadow trail from the Environmental Education Center at the Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge in Bristol. The changes allow full accessibility to the boardwalk, grasslands, and wetlands down to the Narragansett Bay.

Providence Public Library
The Providence Public Library used the mini-grant funds to make a sensory kit available to patrons. The kit consists of assistive listening devices, magnifiers, and high intensity lamps. Staff received training to assist patrons in using the tools.

Town of Westerly
The Town of Westerly purchased a MobiChair with the mini-grant funds. A MobiChair, which reclines and floats, is a high quality beach wheelchair that will allow access to the boardwalk, beach, and water.

Yawgoo Valley Ski School
Yawgoo Valley Ski School trained professional ski instructors in adaptive instruction. Instructors received training through the Professional Ski Instructors of America which specializes in instruction for skiers with disabilities.


2013 Recipients

Cranston YMCA
The Cranston YMCA used its grant to fund the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible upper body exercise machine.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley
NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, a Woonsocket community development corporation, purchased a computer-based individualized reading program, furnishings and sensory materials for its Art Center for grades K-5.

Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum reconstructed a ramp at the museum's main building, the John N.A. Griswold House, completing a larger accessibility project.


2012 Recipients

Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club
The Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club expanded a program which supports elementary school children to participate in the Club's summer program. With support, children on the autism spectrum participated in the typical camp activities alongside all members. Funds were 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, which provides a 45 minute narrated tours along sections of the Blackstone River. Blackstone Valley Tourism Council customized an access ramp for the riverboat, and purchased a portable ramp to allow wheelchair access from a floating dock.

East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA
East Side/Mt. Hope YMCA improved access to existing areas within the facility. Locker room showers equipped with hand-held shower heads and shower seats, and changes were made to allow accessible access to the new member consultation area.

New Urban Farmers
New Urban Farmers (NUF) 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 created accessible raised garden beds at its three community garden sites.

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.The Park's ZooCamp provides camp activities to preschoolers through fifth-graders, purchased resources to adapt program materials to meet the needs of all children and provided training to camp staff to support campers with disabilities as they participate in typical camp activities.


2011 Recipients

The Providence Children's Museum
The Providence Children's Museum welcomes children and adults of all backgrounds and from all communities. Its focus is on serving southern New England children ages 1 to 11, and the adults who care for them. The Museum expanded a training initiative on inclusion and best practices in disability awareness for staff and volunteers to conduct a year-long evaluation of the Museum's learning environments, in consultation with families of children with disabilities and professionals.

Providence Inner City Arts
Providence Inner City Arts is a new place in the city of Providence for people of all cultures to enjoy each other and each other's cultures, and to celebrate the arts. Providence Inner City Arts built an accessible stage at its newly opened Roots Café, allowing artists and performers with disabilities to be included in arts, cultural and entertainment programming, and workshops or lectures.

Rock Spot Climbing
Rock Spot Climbing, located in Lincoln, an indoor climbing facility that welcomes climbers of all ages and abilities. Rock Spot Climbing offers visits, memberships and lessons to individuals and groups. Rock Spot Climbing offered discounted day passes to individuals with disabilities.

The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre
The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre, located in Pawtucket, offers live theater and educational programming to the public. The Theater produces a five-to-six season of plays, reaching over 26,000 audience members annually. The Theatre purchaseed and installed aisle rails to increase safety and improve accessibility to each row of the 137-seat theater.

Vartan Gregorain Elementary School PTO
The Vartan Gregorian Elementary School PTO used its award to help provide access to an elevated play structure, as part of its Accessible Playground Project at Cabral Park. Students at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School use Cabral Park playground for daily recess. The Boys and Girls Club at Fox Point use the park to provide after school programs to children of all abilities. Children will have access to the elevated play structure through a series of accessible ramps, bridges, and wheelchair accessible play panels.


2010 Recipients

The Contemporary Theater Company
The Contemporary Theater Company used its grant to stage a production of "Alice in Wonderland" in collaboration with GEAR Productions, a South Kingstown community organization that produces theatrical performances for children. The show, held in November 2010, included 44 people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities and 24 trained actors. The play was performed in front of more than 800 members of the public and more than 600 schoolchildren. Participants had the opportunity to experience all aspects of a professionally produced play - from acting, singing and dancing to set building and backstage work.

Grand Piano of Greenville
Grand Piano of Greenville created a karaoke program for children and adults with and without disabilities, providing opportunity for participants to share music and socialize through a venue designed to minimize performance anxiety and build confidence. Funds purchased portable equipment so the participants could perform at community and public venues.

2nd Story Theatre
2nd Story Theatre purchased 10 personal stereo sound amplifiers for audience members who need hearing assistance to enjoy live theater. The theatre is fully accessible to those with disabilities.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary
The Norman Bird Sanctuary repaired the Norman Universal Access Trail, which was impassable by wheelchair in some areas, and to promote the restored accessibility of the facility. The Universal Trail system begins at the main parking lot and ends at an observation deck overlooking Red Maple Swamp Pond. In the past, visitors using wheelchairs were only able to visit the gift shop, rest rooms and small surrounding area, which did not include a New England hardwood forest. The improvements enabled many school groups, which included students with disabilities, to make the mile trip into the woodland and to the Red Maple Pond observation deck this past fall.

Slater Mill
Slater Mill used the grant funds to draw up a plan for ramps and handrails to make the waterwheel and machine shop exhibits at the Wilkinson Mill fully accessible.


2009 Recipients

Bristol Historical and Preservation Society
The Bristol Histroical and Preservation Society housed in the former Bristol Town Jail, acquired video and audio technology to make the Society's collections available as a video tour for individuals with disabilities who are currently unable to access the historic building's second floor.

The Providence Public Library
the Providence Public Library utilized the grant funds to conduct a series of workshops designed to help librarians and program presenters become more effective at inclusion of children and adults with disabilities or mental illness in library programs. Videotapes of the workshops are available in digital form from the Providence Library website.

The Rotary Club of Chariho
The Rotary Club of Chariho used grant money to help defray the cost of crushed stone and equipment at the Sarah Jane McCullough Play Area, which serves children and adults in Richmond, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Westerly and Exeter. The crushed stone is part of a subsurface for a "poured in place" rubber surface, which allows complete wheelchair access. The equipment is not only accessible but also useable by people in wheelchairs. The play area, located at Richmond Elementary School, is an inclusive playground available to all individuals and families.

The Steel Yard
The Steel Yard offers free industrial arts classes and job training for low-income students aged 13-18, and produces street art for local neighborhoods and communities. The Steel Yard acquired additional safety equipment and a digital projector to assist in accessible, demonstration-based teaching.
The Steel Yard also developed, upgraded, and implemented curricula that integrate the digital projector to assist with class demonstrations, protecting students with disabilities from feeling singled out for expanded one-on-one demonstrations.


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