Lucinda Winward works as a Staff Services Manager for special projects in the Change Management Office at FI$Cal. In her off hours she spends time as a parent and advocate for special-needs children in the Folsom area.
Folsom has strong city recreation programs for children. Lucinda serves as a founding member of a group in the city that provides funds for these programs to include children with special needs. Through her group’s efforts, a recreational therapist was hired full time last summer so children with disabilities could participate alongside their non-disabled peers.
For the past three years this nonprofit group known as “Folsom Runway” has partnered with the city of Folsom to hold a fashion show featuring people from the community as models. Elected officials, school personnel and even school board members partner with disabled and non-disabled children to walk the runway. This year’s event, dubbed “Runway 19,” was held on November 3, with more than 200 people attending.
Folsom Runway brings awareness to the concept of inclusion, which in recreation ensures people of all abilities have access to the same resources and have shared experiences. This in turn fosters mutual acceptance and strong friendships, creating a better community. This philosophy lies at the heart of many programs for children with disabilities. “This is all about inclusion,” Lucinda says.
In addition to Folsom Runway, Lucinda serves on the Folsom-Cordova School District’s SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) Community Advisory Committee. Lucinda was appointed by the school board to this committee five years ago, and has served as chair for the past three. “Basically, we are informed parent advisers for special education to the school district,” she says. “And we are advocates for other parents to the school district.”
The committee also hosts a number of community lectures, an art show featuring the work of the students, and provides annual awards to special education school personnel who go above and beyond in their service to children and families.
Lucinda feels tied to her cause as her parents were both special education teachers. Lucinda also has two children in general education classes, with one using special education services. Both do well. Lucinda says that over time she’s genuinely learned to enjoy her alternative parent experiences. She had this to say about her important work:
“On our journey as parents, we move mountains to do what’s best for our kids. If we’re lucky, we may also get the chance to improve the lives of other children and families too. I feel very privileged to be able to serve my community in this way.”