2013 Changing Perceptions in Schools Recap

December 21, 2013

Thanks in part to a grant awarded in 2013 from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, LLC, Sportable has employed its Changing Perceptions in Schools program as part of its “I Am an Athlete: Increasing Athletic Opportunities for Adults and Children with Physical Disabilities in the Metropolitan Richmond Area initiative.” The grant, worth $75,000.00, has enabled Sportable to develop 10 new partner school programs within the Henrico County Public Schools in the Greater Richmond Area. Specifically, this grant has funded personnel salaries, travel, equipment, supplies and school program development costs.

To date, Sportable has visited and delivered the Changing Perceptions in Schools curriculum to 14 schools, totaling 2,486 student experiences!  The success of the program has been documented through pre and post-surveys administered to the participating students. The survey results show that perceptions are in fact changing!  For instance, in a pre-survey at Hungary Creek Middle School, 39.9% of students “Strongly Agreed” that people with physical or intellectual disabilities can be athletes.  After being exposed to the program, 81.4% “Strongly Agreed” in an identical post-survey; a jump of 41.5%!  In addition, one student commented “Being fit is being happy. When you exercise, you feel great! If you do it in a chair, or on two legs, it should not matter!”

The Changing Perceptions in Schools curriculum is comprised of 4 components: Disability Awareness or “Etiquette” Training, Adapted Sports 101, Adapted Sports Experience, and Motivation & Inspiration.
The Diversity and Disability Awareness (or “Etiquette” Training) is a multimedia presentation aimed to dispel some of the myths surrounding people with disabilities, educate participants on person first language and disability etiquette, provide a brief introduction to the world of adapted sports, and highlight the accomplishments of athletes with physical and visual disabilities.

Adapted Sports 101 introduces students to the world of Paralympic sports through a multi-media presentation featuring the history of adapted sports and the Paralympic Games, an overview of the different sports available for athletes with various types of physical and visual disabilities, and the stories of accomplished athletes with physical disabilities.  Additionally, a couple pieces of equipment are displayed to enhance this presentation.

Adapted Sports Experience takes Adapted Sports 101 to the next level by engaging students in hands-on experience of a variety of sports such as goal ball, sitting volleyball, wheelchair racing, wheelchair tennis, and more. Participants are introduced to the basic rules and equipment for each sport and given an opportunity to try them first hand!

Motivation & Inspiration provides students with a unique opportunity to meet Sportable athletes.  Sportable athletes present and speak for the above programs and share their personal story of the positive impact of sports in their lives.

Sportable is thrilled to have received such positive feedback from the administration, teachers, and students of the participating schools! Sportable looks forward to continuing to deliver the program to the remaining eight participating Henrico County Public Schools in the new year!

For more information about the program, visit www.sportable.org or contact info@sportable.org or call 804.340.2991