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Neighbors of DuPage

St. Francis Xavier School students “strike” up friendships with people with disabilities

Suburbanite Bowl in Westmont was a whirlwind of strikes, spares, high-fives, and impromptu dance parties on the morning of December 1, when the South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) partnered with St. Francis Xavier School of La Grange for a special bowling event for people with disabilities.

Fifty-eight sixth-grade students and 25 chaperones from St. Francis Xavier teamed up with 90 adults with disabilities participating in programs with SEASPAR, Little Friends of Downers Grove, and Lily Cache Special Recreation Association of Bolingbrook, for a few leisurely games of bowling. The students assisted participants with tasks from selecting balls to setting up ramps for players in wheelchairs to – most importantly – cheering on their new friends.

“I was so excited to have someone to bowl with,” said student Kathryn Adams. “It was really cool seeing all their happy faces.”

The bowling event is just one aspect of a nine-year partnership between SEASPAR and St. Francis Xavier. Each year since 2008, SEASPAR has visited the school for an Ability Awareness program for the sixth-grade class, educating the students about interacting with people with disabilities through activities such as wheelchair basketball and sign language practice.

In turn, the students, along with their parents and teachers, regularly volunteer at SEASPAR programs. This fall, St. Francis Xavier students assisted with not only the bowling event, but also SEASPAR’s Holiday Spectacular, Karate, Music Mania, Bingo, Glee Club, Alley Cats, Strikers, Power Soccer, and Turkey Shoot programs and events.

For more information about SEASPAR’s recreational programs and services for individuals with disabilities, visit or call 630-960-7600.