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Special Olympics Caravan Brings Holiday Cheer

December 2, 2022 | Black Hills Works Newsroom

Like other organizations, when the pandemic meant that Special Olympics South Dakota had to cancel all of its 2020 events, it pivoted and hosted a “Holiday Caravan” for Special Olympic athletes in 11 communities across South Dakota over the holiday season.

Rapid City, in partnership with Black Hills Works, was the Holiday Caravan’s first, and not surprisingly, best-attended stop! Held behind the Learning Institute building, Black Hill Works staff decorated the driving “loop” with beautiful holiday lights for the more than 130 Special Olympians who participated to enjoy while they received gifts from the safety of their cars. Santa and his helpers, including Deputy Ballard and other members of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, handed out gifts of tumblers, t-shirts, and more. 

The Rapid City Storm is among the largest teams in the state, with over 200 Black Hills Works participants. The Storm also encourages community involvement and inclusion through its participation in Unified Sports. The Unified division allows Special Olympians to compete side-by-side on the field with community volunteers who perform the role of player/coach. 

The Holiday Caravan provided a unique opportunity for athletes to reconnect with each other, while remaining safe and socially-distanced. Thanks to everyone that helped make this event outstanding! 

Flutter Productions First-of-Its-Kind All-Ability Arts Evaluation

December 2, 2022 | Black Hills Works Newsroom

Flutter Productions is pleased to announce the completion of a three-year evaluation, conducted in partnership with the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Center for Disabilities. The evaluation looked at the impact of arts involving people with disabilities on community members, audience members, volunteers, staff, and the performers with disabilities. The evaluation, which included facilitated conversations with casts and audiences, revealed eight outcomes from all-ability performing arts experiences and opportunities. These included but were not limited to, helping people with disabilities find their voice; changing expectations and perceptions about abilities and differences; creating leadership opportunities; and positive ripple effects in the community, such individuals with disabilities finding employment.

The evaluation was made possible in major part by a 2017 Building Humanities Communities Challenge Grant, from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Exploring the human endeavor. Flutter Productions was one of twenty-nine projects in sixteen states awarded this grant, and the only organization in South Dakota.

Flutter’s grant award was considered an NEH milestone. According to NEH, this evaluation “will shape what happens at the NEH with individuals with disabilities moving forward.”

All materials relating to this first-of-its-kind evaluation, including interviews, outcomes and recordings of performances are on record at the NEH in Washington, D.C.

Flutter will be launching its first virtual performance on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now! Get yours today.

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Black Hills Works is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency serving nearly 600 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Rapid City, South Dakota. As a full-service support provider, Black Hills Works offers residential, employment, and health and wellness supports.

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