Sports Mentors for Kids

Disabled Sports USA's mentoring program pairs kids with adults to develop sports abilities and life skills

by Quest Staff on February 9, 2009 - 5:24pm

Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA) will conduct its 2009 National Youth Sports Mentoring Program in 13 states during 2009. The program will match more than 200 youth with disabilities with mentors who will help them develop their sports abilities and skills they can use in everyday life.

Disabled Sports USA

Now in its third year, the mentoring program recruits and trains active adults with and without disabilities to mentor youth with disabilities under 18 years of age, encouraging them to become active in sports. Through these activities, the program helps youth gain self confidence, improve motor skills, become more sociable and learn to set and achieve goals for improved physical fitness.

More than 20 sports are taught including winter skiing and snowboarding, athletics, cycling, swimming, volleyball, golf, equestrian and others.

Sponsored by several organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the program sometimes matches kids with service members severely wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been trained to be mentors by DS/USA.

Mentoring programs are being held in the following states: Alaska: Challenge Alaska; California: San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation; Colorado: Adapted Sports Center of Crested Butte, National Sports Center for the Disabled; Illinois: Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association; Maryland: Athletes Serving Athletes; New Hampshire: AbilityPLUS at Attitash, AbilityPLUS at Gunstock, AbilityPLUS at Waterville Valley, Bretton Woods Adaptive, Huggins Hospital Adaptive Sports, Northeast Passage, New England Disabled Sports; New Mexico: Challenge New Mexico; New York: Greek Peak Adaptive Snowsports, STRIDE Inc.; Oklahoma: University of Central Oklahoma Sport Performance; Utah: Common Ground Outdoor Adventures; Virginia: Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing; Vermont: AbilityPLUS at Mount Snow, Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports.

DS/USA was founded in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans. A multi-sport, multi-disability organization serving more than 60,000 youth and adults annually, DS/USA is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. It offers programs through its nationwide network of 98 community-based chapters operating in 38 states. For schedules and additional information about DS/USA, visit www.dsusa.org or call (301) 217-0960.

For information specifically about the Youth Mentoring Program, visit www.dsusa.org/mentoring.html or call Pat Addabbo at (240) 268-0237.

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