22 Aug 2014
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'Big Blast' Helps Youth, Makes Therapy Fun

This week's Patch Portraits also feature a Glencoe police cop who saves birds and a Niles cancer survivor who became an author.

This week's Patch Portraits also feature a Glencoe police cop and a Niles cancer survivor .

For Rhonda Penzell, a change in careers led to changing lives.

After years of working is sales, Penzell decided to leave her job and found A Big Blast Project, a non-profit specializing in fun physical therapy for kids.

"I decided to get back to what I was passionate about," the Glenview woman told Patch. "It's what I studied in college and I've been volunteering since high school."

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Big Blast has expanded from gymnastic therapy classes to a host of programs, including martial arts classes, summer camps and "buddy sports" where children are partnered with students from local high schools and other young volunteers.

"The one thing that we saw was that kids were doing a lot of was occupational physical therapy," Penzell said. "I wanted to come up with something that would give them a place to go that they could have fun that was therapy disguised as fun."

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