Track and field runners Glenn Cunningham and April Holmes, both athletes with physical disabilities, may not have known the names of those to run in their footsteps but they had to instinctively know they were forging opportunity for all those who followed.
Today, Alyssa Patterson shares their vision and is closely following in their tracks. That vision is being supported by organizations such as Youth Challenge (YC). With a reputation for providing high quality athletic programming for nearly 40 years, YC has been designated as “Paralympic Sport Cleveland” by the U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
As a Paralympic Sport Club, YC will continue to introduce adaptive sports to children with physical disabilities while also promoting athletics and teamwork. This past summer eight Paralympic sports activities were introduced, including soccer, power lifting, boccia, swimming, tennis, and sitting volleyball.
The programming distinction is being given because, now during activities, YC will instruct participants in the official rules of each Paralympic sport. Participants will also be given the opportunity to try Paralympic sports in a recreational setting while – at the same time – YC staff and volunteers will help to identify young athletes who may want to pursue competitive sports.
Those interested in more competitive sport programs will be referred to partners such as Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio and the Wheelchair CAVS, to name a few. Local sports facilities, such as the North Olmsted Golf Club help YC offer Paralympic sport activities throughout the year.
“As a Paralympic Sport Club, YC is committed to putting our best foot forward in introducing children to new recreational and competitive sport opportunities,” says Chris Garr, director of program services at YC. “Our programming will serve as a grassroots entry point for U.S. Paralympic athletes,” he added.
Paralympic Sport Clubs are community-based programs developed to involve youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities in sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level. All programs and activities will be based in the community and are run by local organizations.
For more information, visit YouthChallengeSports.com.