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  • The Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) is an intergovernmental partnership of ten park districts, one city and one village in the northern suburban area of Chicago. NSSRA provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children and adults with disabilities who live in the partner communities.

    The Association, formed in 1970, was the first "special recreation" association in Illinois and among the first of its kind in the country. NSSRA now serves more than 5,000 registrants each year. Participants include adults and children with mental, physical, emotional or other disabilities, visual impairments or behavior disorders, as well as individuals who are on the autism spectrum, who are deaf or hard of hearing or have debilitating conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis or Alzheimer's Disease.

    NSSRA provides a wide array of programs and services including Traditional Programs, Inclusion Programs, Cooperative Programs, a Low Incidence Cooperative Agreement (LICA) Extended Year Program and a Joint Summer Program (JSP) offered with the Northern Suburban Special Education District. NSSRA works closely with partner agencies to enable inclusive recreation. Other services include Outreach, In-Home Programming, Leisure Skill Development, Provision of Speakers in the field of Therapeutic Recreation and more.

    NSSRA offers more than 700 cultural, sport, social, physical, outdoor, trip and special event programs, available during the day, after school, in the evenings and on weekends. Most agency programs are planned and conducted by full time staff trained in the provision of recreation activities for people with disabilities. Our Gator Athletics/Special Olympics training and competitions span 17 sports.

    In addition to 15 full time staff members, NSSRA utilizes hundreds of part-time, seasonal paid employees and volunteers. NSSRA is funded through Program Fees, a Special Recreation property tax levied by partner agencies, Grants, Donations and other sources.