Win 4 Kids Finalist- Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador

Easter_Seals_NL_PHOTO.jpgChildren with disabilities ages 8-14 are given the opportunity to be physically active in the Wheelchair Basketball program. The program runs once a week throughout the school year, September – June.

Some children with disabilities live a sedentary lifestyle due to limited access to inclusive programs and activities. This puts them at a higher risk for secondary health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. This program not only helps prevent these life threatening illnesses but provides an inclusive environment where the children can play together.

“Easter Seals is an amazing organization that gives kids with disabilities a chance to be physically active. The Wheelchair Basketball program needs more wheelchairs to fit the needs of their growing registration, which is a great indicator of the program’s success,” said Kaitlyn Kean, a GoodLife Fitness Associate who nominated the program for Win 4 Kids. She continues, “This program is appealing to youth who could greatly benefit from the physical activity and an overall better quality of life.”

The current inventory of sports chairs available is restricting full participation. Children using ill-fitting chairs cannot develop their basketball skills properly; it’s like wearing a size eight shoe when your foot is a size five. Funds from Win 4 Kids would be used to purchase new wheelchair basketball chairs.

There are currently 28 athletes registered and a supply of 16 wheelchairs. Funds will ensure everyone can participate, have fun and be physically active.

TESTIMONIAL 

My name is Megan Glover and I am a wheelchair basketball athlete.  As an infant, I suffered a stroke that resulted in Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. I don’t let these conditions hold me back but the truth is, it’s often difficult for me to play in stand-up leagues. I’ve always loved basketball and there was no way that I was not going to play it. Thanks to Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador – I can! 

Being a wheelchair basketball athlete has taught me how to be a team player, good sportsmanship skills, and the many benefits of exercise. It’s given me the confidence to pursue my goals and to always believe in myself. 

As we say at Easter Seals, there is no inability in disability— just ability!”

- Meghan, wheelchair athlete

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter Handle: @eastersealsnl

Facebook Page: Facebook.com/eastersealnl

Website: www.eastersealsnl.ca

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The Confidence to Try #FEELGOODFRIDAY Lukas is a 10-year-old Raptors fan who plays basketball with his local chapter of Special Olympics, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was afraid to join a team. Lukas is an outgoing kid who likes to make friends and has always been very active. But his early experiences in organized physical activity were not positive. One of his biggest challenges with autism is struggling to follow directions in large groups. He was often told he was doing things wrong and even that he would embarrass the team. “These negative comments deflated his confidence, and he became afraid to try new things,” explained his mom Lisa. When he was eight, Lukas took part in the Sports of All Sorts program at the Geneva Centre for Autism. The supportive environment in the Sports of All Sorts program, funded by a GoodLife Kids grant, was a real game-changer for him. Constant encouragement and positive reinforcement gave Lukas a safe space to explore new activities without a fear of being judged. With one-on-one support he played basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf. “We’re so glad to make physical activity a regular part of Lukas’ life and we’ve found ways for him to continue practicing at home,” said Lisa. “We bought a tennis net for the backyard, and now that he’s not afraid, he loves to go to glow-in-the-dark mini-putt with his dad!” As Lukas turned around on the basketball court to wave to his mom, he gave her two big thumbs up and her eyes welled up with tears of joy. “Watching him enjoy himself, I’m overwhelmed with happiness and pride,” she shared. “He has talents! But most of all, he has regained a belief in himself – that he CAN do it – and that is so powerful.”

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