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Adults With Developmental Disabilities Transition With Help of Local Program

The SEASPAR Eagles recently rocked out through the Heart & Sole dance class.

Editor's note: This article was submitted by SEASPAR. 

The SEASPAR EAGLES of Darien spread their wings with rockin’ rhythm on Monday, January 28th, when members of the Heart & Sole Dance class through Downers Grove’s Advocate Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center came calling with music and dance moves in hand. 

EAGLES is a SEASPAR program which accommodates young adults with developmental disabilities as they transition into adult life within the community.  

One EAGLE member, Emily Lundvall often joins her mom, Kathy, at the Wellness Center working out with weights, treadmills, and swimming.

When Emily finds free time in her busy schedule, she also enjoys sharing time with mom at Darlene Galgan’s Heart & Sole Dance class.  Her class consists of easy-to-follow and fun choreographed dance routines that are easily tailored to one’s needs. While the program focuses on seniors, Galgan welcomes all ages. 

Galgan began her volunteering efforts at the EAGLES Nest four years ago when Emily and Kathy approached her.  

“Emily thought it would be nice to introduce her fellow EAGLES to this form of exercise,” Kathy said. “I thought our group would be a good example; we have our limitations, but we keep going.  It’s a nice outreach to the community.”

After learning about the organization, Galgan was happy to oblige.  “I went to Emily to see what the group would like and through observation, I could see what Emily enjoyed doing. We created a program and brought it to the EAGLES Nest in Darien.” 

Bringing with her several Heart & Sole volunteers, Galgan runs the program just like Heart & Sole Dance. Focusing on safety and modifications in exercise for those in need, she first demonstrates things the group can do to music and how music motivates exercise. 

EAGLES coordinator, Laura Christensen couldn’t have been happier when Galgan first appeared.  

“The EAGLES do stretches each morning, but Darlene helps instill that fitness is fun.  Our participants enjoy the music and are always excited when guests come,” she said. 

Galgan has provided an assortment of music throughout the four years including country western, contemporary music they can recognize and dance to, and this year was a patriotic theme with exercise including a march.  She dressed up this year’s event with American flags and learning to salute. 

SEASPAR’s EAGLES program marks its fifth anniversary on September 22, 2013.  This award-winning program prides itself on a nearly 100 percent return rate each year.  It quickly outgrew the multipurpose room in Darien’s Sportsplex and is now housed in a 4500-square-foot space specifically designed by Christensen.  With its success, a second facility, named EAGLES II, celebrated their ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 20, 2011 at the Village of Brookfield. 

EAGLES stands for Enhancing Adult Growth through Lifestyle Education and Service and serves adults with developmental disabilities. The program currently runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Each day the group works on life skills, making healthy choices, being as independent as possible, positive interactions with peers and enjoys many recreational outings and opportunities. 
For more information about the EAGLES or EAGLES II, or to share a specialty talent, call Laura Christensen at 630-789-6666, ext. 115.

SEASPAR provides year-round recreation services for individuals with disabilities and is an extension of the park districts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, LaGrange, LaGrange Park, Lisle, Westmont, and Woodridge, and the villages of Brookfield, Indian Head Park and Western Springs. For further information, contact SEASPAR at 630/960-7600 (voice) or 630/960-7605 (TDD) or visit www.SEASPAR.org.

For more information on Heart & Sole Dance, contact Darlene Galgan through Heart & Sole Fitness, Inc. at 630-858-3916. 

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