Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Partners with Cincinnati LEND Program to Improve Access and Inclusion for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families

October 25, 2017

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (CZBG), in partnership with the Cincinnati Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program, was recently awarded a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to advance its goal of becoming one of the nation's most welcoming, accessible, and inclusive zoos for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The Anchor for Access and Inclusion project was one of 132 projects selected from 558 grant applications nationally.

The grant will provide $415,852 over the next 3 years to work on CZBG's access and inclusion efforts. Dr. Jen Smith, Director of the Cincinnati LEND program, will serve as CZBG's primary consultant for the project. Dr. Smith, along with a team of former LEND trainees, will train all 244 full-time zoo staff as well as 75 seasonal employees and 50 volunteers. In addition, the teams will work with a family advisory council to develop evidence-based supports to help prepare individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for better engagement at the zoo. The teams will also evaluate various facets of the project and share results through local media, networks of disability organizations, professional conferences and publications, and directly with other cultural institutions.