The YMCA of Delaware Harnesses Inclusion with ground breaking equipment designed to integrate persons with disabilities into a community fitness setting

A historic collaboration between the nonprofit group EPIC, the University of Delaware, the company Enliten and the YMCA of Delaware results in a new harness system installed at the Bear Glasgow YMCA branch.

Newark, Delaware- The YMCA of Delaware has installed adaptive fitness equipment in the Bear Glasgow YMCA, designed to integrate persons with disabilities into the daily fitness community of the YMCA. This pilot program was spearheaded by Terri Hancharick, a parent of a child with disabilities, a member of the Bear Glasgow YMCA and an ardent advocate for persons with disabilities. As founder of the nonprofit organization EPIC, Endless Possibilities in the Community, Terri made it her mission to break down the walls separating people with disabilities from the rest of the community .

Terri’s association with the University of Delaware’s College of Health and Sciences led to meeting brothers Ralph and Steve Cope from Enliten, a small business dedicated to Increasing mobility for people of all ages. Ralph and Steve Cope, University of Delaware alumnus, developed and patented a harness system that was Installed at the Health Sciences Complex at UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. “The harness system enables us to challenge our patients while also keeping them safe,” says Darcy Reisman, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy. Reisman points out that many rehabilitation devices are designed for specific populations, but the Enliten harness systems serve everyone from toddlers and injured athletes to stroke survivors and people with traumatic brain injuries.

Terri Hancharick and Jack Jadach, founders of EPIC, showed the harness system to Jim Kelly, Vice President of Operations at the YMCA of Delaware. Jim saw the potential in this system, realized it could be customized to the YMCA facility and moved forward with installation. Said Jim Kelly, ” One of our strategic goals for 2015 is the intentional fostering of a culture that reduces barriers to our Y facilities. The funding, staffing and installation of a system the Y had no prior experience with, is charting new territory, but we are dedicated to having access for as many Delawareans as possible.”

Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, The Chief Executive Officer for the YMCA of Delaware said, “One of the elements in the successful YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is that the meetings take place at our branches or in a community setting – not in a medical environment or hospital. The intent of Harnessing Inclusion is similar. Families with members who have disabilities can work out together In a community setting and not be sequestered to special rooms or buildings.”


About the YMCA of Delaware

The YMCA of Delaware is Delaware’s largest non-profit organization committed to strengthening the citizens of Delaware through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With (7) seven branches statewide and an overnight camp and conference center in Worton, Maryland, the Y has developed long-standing relationships and a physical presence in Delaware so they can deliver lasting personal and social change. We are committed to serving everyone – regardless of age, Income or background – to nurture the potential of every child and teen, Improve Delaware’s health and wellbeing

and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

Our Mission

The YMCA is an association of people of all ages, ethnic groups and religious affiliations that strives to cultivate the human potential, self-esteem, and dignity of all people. Our organization exists to develop and practice the Christian principles of love, caring, inclusiveness, justice and peace…and to enrich the emotional, physical and social life of all individuals, families and our community.