Club opens arms to students with disabilities
by Anne Marie Fuller
Sep 27, 2013 | 6551 views | 0 0 comments | 452 452 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Inclusion Program
Seth Turner, 12, plays a board game as part of the activities offered by the Inclusion Program at the Lowell Avenue clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy. The program serves children with disabilities alongside other local children.  Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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A one-of-a-kind program is making a daily difference in the lives of Tracy children with disabilities.

The inclusion program, offered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy clubhouse at 753 W. Lowell Ave., has been thriving for 13 years. Directed by Lisa Sughayar, it serves students ranging in age from 10 to 18 years old and costs $35 a year for families of children with disabilities.

“This program allows our kids with disabilities to be included in all aspects of club life and feel comfortable while experiencing new friendships,” Sughayar said.

She attributed the strength of the program to executive director Kelly Wilson’s dedication.

The program is offered after school Mondays through Fridays and longer hours in summer. A typical day during the school year includes an hour of homework, socialization, physical activity and health and life skills.

Valerie Saabye’s son, Seth Turner, joined the inclusion program just this year.

“Through this program, my son has grown emotionally as well as socially,” Saabye said. “My son has also gained confidence and made some really great friendships. He loves coming here and doesn’t want to leave.”

“I like everything here,” said Seth, 12. “I like playing games and going to the park and playing sports.”

In addition to after-school activities, participants can play in a club basketball league. The league currently has 30 players and is open to all children with disabilities in the community.

Natasha Dietrich and Porsha Broadnax, both 18, also enjoy attending the inclusion program.

“I like to go to the park and play on the swings,” Dietrich said. “We do healthy habits and I made a rice cake pizza. It was good. I also like to color and do crafts.”

“I have fun with my friends here,” Broadnax said. “I just started to be a team leader to exercise.”

The inclusion program is among the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy programs that are supported by the clubs’ annual auction gala, which is scheduled for Oct. 5 starting at 5:30 p.m. at Portuguese Hall, 430 W. Ninth St.

Tickets, $100 per person, include dinner and an evening of live jazz, silent and live auctions and a dessert auction. For information: Yauna Throne, 832-2582, ext. 101.

• Contact the Tracy Press newsroom at 830-4280 or

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