August 21st – Toledo is for everyone.
It’s a statement that started as a t-shirt concept by local outfitter Jupmode and has now grown into a mission statement for a number of local agencies working together on a local campaign. Your goal? To make the Solheim Cup – a biennial international women’s golf tournament held in Toledo from August 31st to September 6th – the most comprehensive event the city and tournament has ever seen.
More importantly, the agencies involved in the Toledo Is For All campaign hope to create an environment that encourages participation and does not prevent individuals from all backgrounds, disabilities or lifestyles from attending the event.
The project is a partnership between the event organizers, The Ability Center, The Sight Center, Memory Lane Care Services and the Area Office on Aging. Meg Ressner, co-chair of the Solheim Cup, said the partners had worked hard to ensure that no participants felt left out of the action.
“We’re trying to remove every barrier that everyone would have and thought I can’t go for whatever reason,” she said.
A tent has been set up in front of the gates of the Solheim Cup, which is being held in the Inverness Club on Dorr Street in Toledo, in which people with disabilities in need can find out about accessibility or venues. The golf course will also have a sensory activation vehicle placed in an area called KultureCity that will allow individuals to take a break if necessary before they can enjoy the event again. Both in the KultureCity area and at the Toledo is for Everyone booth, sensory bags are provided for guests with items that can help reduce overstimulation, including: headphones, fidgeting and ID cards.
Sam Report, director of strategic development, said collaboration was a given during the planning of the event.
“At the Ability Center, we work every day to make the Toledo area the most disabled-friendly community in the country,” he said. “And when you think of a huge event like Solheim coming to Toledo, it quickly became clear to us that we had to do everything we could to make the Solheim Cup the most disabled-friendly golf tournament of all time.”
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“The way we do it, we do everything,” he continued. “It’s through partnership. So we quickly reached out to a few friends, other organizations that work with people with disabilities … and we asked them how we could put our heads together to do everything in our power for everyone with any kind of disability-related concern we wanted to dispel that concern. “
The Toledo Tent is for everyone will be a one-stop shop for accessibility information, said Mr Report.
“There is a path for everyone from the aging community to the disabled community or Alzheimer’s disease to dementia. If you are just thinking about a specific life situation, this tent provides a place to find information on how truly inclusive and accessible the Solheim tournament is it will.”
Accessible parking is available at the Stranahan Theater and Great Hall, and shuttles will be available under the Americans with Disability Act to take individuals to the Inverness entrance.
The mobile sensory activation vehicle is available in KultureCity from Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ms. Ressner hopes to set the standard for designing an inclusive event. Additionally, she hopes Toledo will be recognized for its efforts to make an event as big as the Solheim Cup, something everyone can enjoy.
“For anyone visiting from outside Toledo and northwest Ohio, we want them to see what happens when you work together,” she said. “When you work together, you can really create accessibility and inclusion.”