Parents

"I don't think words can express the difference KEEN has made in my son's life. Coming to KEEN makes his whole day. After KEEN he is so happy - it makes a huge difference for our entire family!" – KEEN Parent

Parent handing child to coachKEEN welcomes every child, regardless of the nature or severity of his or her disability. In its open, unstructured and non-competitive environment, every child can enjoy every activity without the fear of losing or not being the best. KEEN "Athletes" gain confidence and self-esteem, and perhaps most important, a sense of social belonging. And they have fun! 

KEEN Athletes have disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and various intellectual and developmental disabilities. KEEN's unique model allows for people with any type of disability, including those with significant needs, to find success. For some of the children and young adults who are unable to participate in other programs, KEEN may be their only recreational activity.

At each KEEN session, a participating athlete (participant) is paired with a coach (volunteer) for a variety of age-appropriate recreational activities. In recruiting volunteers we emphasize that commitment to the program can be flexible and will not require regular attendance (though this is welcome). For this reason the coaching "volunteer" will more often than not change from session to session.

COACHES are people who share an enthusiasm for working with children through recreational and sports activities. All coaches are offered regular information sessions so that they can learn more about the young people with whom we work with and issues surrounding their athletes' different challenges.

COST — All activities are completely free of charge for both athletes and coaches. KEEN relies on generous contributions from corporate sponsors, foundations, and community members. Fundraising events are also held.

KEEN PROGRAMS are open, unstructured and flexible. With the help of their volunteer coaches, KEEN athletes can participate in a variety of non-competitive activities, including soccer, basketball, bowling, gymnastic and various adaptive activities. No particular ability is necessary for our athletes: KEEN coaches can tailor the activity to the need of the individual athlete. Athletes are encouraged to compete only with themselves, fulfilling individual goals and learning new skills in a relaxed and supportive environment.

THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE is easily accessible on the home page of this website, and under the programs menu as well. Please arrive on time. If you arrive late - - - it will take longer to match your child with their volunteer coach.

ENROLLMENT — To enroll your child in KEEN, please consult the Enrollment Procedures.  Athlete families will be contacted by the KEEN Administrator to confirm session participation after receipt of the completed Registration Forms.

ATHLETE PRIVACY — KEEN is seriously committed to maintaining the privacy of our athletes. Privacy of Athlete and Volunteer Information Policy.

CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY MEASURES — At KEEN, nothing is more important than the safety of our athletes. For this reason, all of our volunteer coaches receive initial training and undergo screening and monitoring. Volunteers are also offered additional training opportunities that include Basic First Aid and CPR. Please review our information regarding Volunteer Coach Screening.

HOW CAN ANY PARENT OR GUARDIAN BECOME MORE INVOLVED IN KEEN? Parent involvement is a critical component of KEEN. We welcome ideas for parent information sharing and support. We also need parent input for program development and improvement. For more information, email info@keenstlouis.org.