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Team Up: KEEN & Johns Hopkins

New blog feature! Since we’re all about collaborating and teaming up here at Catalogue, we will be highlighting unique partnerships between Catalogue nonprofits and community, educational, and governmental organizations. And to start, we are featuring KEEN Greater DC and its brand new, innovative partnership with Johns Hopkins University.

Committed to serving (at no cost) those so often left out of sports and recreation, KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) matches young people on the severe and profound end of the disabilities spectrum with trained volunteers to experience basketball, play tennis, enjoy water activities, play soccer, bowl, and simply enjoy themselves. The volunteer corp has exceeded 10,000 — and now it is now bound to keep on growing.

According to the press release, KEEN and Johns Hopkins have “launched the KEEN Practicum in Neurological Disorders, which awards undergraduate students in the Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology credit for volunteering with a KEEN sports program [...] Students receive an applied education about neurological disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, while they participate in a fun and fulfilling community service experience.”

In the words of KEEN Executive Director Beata Okulska, “The relationship with JHU was established through one of their students who has been volunteering for our programs for over a year. She loves the program and saw the benefits and impact of direct interactions between kids with disabilities and volunteers. She set up a meeting with the school faculty this summer, and that’s where the partnership idea was born.”

Said Dr. Linda Gorman, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the founder of the KEEN Practicum. “Many of the KEEN volunteers have been with the organization long enough to really know the athletes and their individual disabilities; because of this they are able to give our students quick insights on how to work with the athletes and this greatly enhances their learning experience.”

Congratulations to KEEN and we look forward to hearing how the Practicum progresses! And do let us know if you have any “team up” stories to share.

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