Adult special needs recreation club formed in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 17, 2019


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Following the success of the Frosted Formal, two members of the St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation Department are working to bring more opportunities for socialization to special needs adults living in the city.

The club will be called Stand Out!, a reference to a quote attributed to Dr. Seuss, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

“We saw a lack of programs and events for things throughout the year,” Kayla Oakey, the director of the Special Needs Playground Program, told the City Council in May. “Most programs for individuals with special needs ends at age 26. After that, they’re left with pretty much nothing.”

She and fellow Parks and Recreation Department clerk Olivia Jourdan said they were inspired by the programming they saw in Sterling Heights, which includes a bowling league, softball, cooking and Zumba classes for those with special needs. Oakey said that she hoped to create programming closer to home so that those with special needs in St. Clair Shores wouldn’t have to leave their community to find something to do.

“We plan to start out small,” Jourdan said, explaining that they hope to put on more dances like the Frosted Formal, host movie nights at the park, create clubs for things like bowling, golf and running, and hold art classes where participants can make items that can later be sold at the St. Clair Shores Farmers Market.

The group’s first meet-and-greet will be held at 4:30 p.m. June 24 under the Maloof Pavilion at Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave., and another dance is scheduled for July. Stand Out! will be open to anyone with special needs ages 18 and older.

“It’s a need that we need,” Mayor Kip Walby said. “I think only good things are going to come from that.”

Jourdan agreed.

“I noticed when I started working for the city (that) we do have the playground program, which is great, (but) I noticed that we don’t have a lot of stuff for the adults,” she said. “These people get older. They still want stuff to do. They still want to be included.”

The aim of the group is to give those with special needs something to participate in on the weekends or a class to take during the week.

“We’re going to start off small right now,” Jourdan said.

For more information, visit or call Jourdan at (810) 666-2359 or Oakey at (586) 533-4284.