By Henry M. Holden
The Randolph YMCA recently embarked on a campaign to fund the addition of an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible locker room.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. It also imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.
“One of those accommodations is accessible locker rooms for people with disabilities,” said Jordan DiEgidio, Development director at the Y. “This means providing barrier-free access for hundreds of people preparing for physical activity and aquatic rehabilitation. The locker room will also serve families with individual changing stalls and private showers.”
The population is diverse, made up of men, women and children with injuries, disabilities and illnesses.
“We want to build a separate locker room near the front desk and the lobby area, that meets the ADA requirements,” said DiEgidio. “Right now, if someone were to come in with a wheelchair, or walker, or with special needs they must walk down a long hallway, through the maze of our locker rooms, and across the main pool deck, to get to the warm water pool. By the time they get there they are exhausted, even before they’ve started their rehabilitation.”
To help fund the new locker room, the Y held an event staffed by 50 volunteers who gave their time to honor a great person, and a great cause.
“In October we held our 1st Annual ‘Swim for Sally,’” event, said DiEgidio. “It was a swim/water walk in memory of long-time Y member, Sally Schenkman, who passed away suddenly in May. The Y was like a second home for Sally. She was here every day as well as working as a nurse at the Atlantic Health Hospital.
“Her family wanted to do something in her memory,” he said. “They approached us, and we came up with the first swim for Sally event since she would swim here every day.
The new locker room will cost about $200,000.
“On the day of the event, we raised over $10,000 towards a new ADA Accessible locker room,” he said. Since the campaign began in September, the Y has raised more than $70,000 through some 447 donors.
“We did a lot of our fundraising virtually; about $55,000 was raised in a month and a half before the event, and more money will be coming in by the end of the year,” he said.
“Seventy swimmers swam 4,134 laps equaling 125 miles, and some people swim 340 laps,” said DiEgidio. “We worked it so that people could swim, or walk the pool, and one could sponsor them by either a fixed donation or by so much per lap.
Following the swim, 26 local businesses donated the food and raffle prizes for a complimentary dinner for all participants.
A highlight of the event was Randolph native Brendan Fletcher, one of the top five contenders from “The Voice.” He donated his time to perform at the dinner.
“The event was so successful we’re going to run this every year now,” he said.
If anyone would like to donate towards building the Sally Schenkman ADA Accessible Family Locker Room, contact Jordan DiEgidio at Jordan@randolphymca.org; 973-366-1120 x38.