The Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) was formed in 1993 by Cindy Housner, a professional in adaptive sports to provide sports and recreational opportunities to children and adults who had a primary physical or visual impairment; as there were few adaptive sports programs available for individuals living in northern Illinois. Programs such as the Special Olympics were not appropriate for GLASA’s target population because our athletes did not have primary cognitive disabilities. Many communities also lacked the resources to offer the adaptations needed for quality recreational and sports programs for children and adults with physical or visual impairments. In 1999 GLASA’s Board of Directors decided to become their own 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with no money, hardly any adaptive equipment and a home office.
With the dedication of volunteers, parents, donors and agencies, GLASA has made incredible strides. Our organization has moved offices to the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest, significantly expanded our lending closet of sports equipment, added summer sports camps, considerably grew the number of recreational and competitive sports programs offered and drastically increased the number of participants served year-round. Today, GLASA provides a continuum of daily programming for youth and adults ranging from the developmental to the elite athlete. Our athletes compete locally, nationally and even internationally. GLASA also offers resource materials, a peer mentoring program, connections to social service agencies and integrative opportunities to ensure our athlete’s needs are met.
GLASA holds the honor of being the Wheelchair Sports, USA (WSUSA) Regional Sports Organization, a United States Olympic Committee Paralympic Sports Club, a Chapter of Disabled Sports, USA and works closely with the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the National Sports Center for the Disabled.