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Through its innovative programming, Abilities Centre supports all levels of participation, from tots and toddlers to high performance Paralympic and Olympic athletes, and everything in between. 

Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD) 

Designed to support high school aged student athletes as they strive for success at regional, provincial, national & international levels of competition, the Academy of Student Athlete Development (ASAD) provides one of the most unique and inclusive models to support student athletes on able-bodied, parasport, and Special Olympic performance pathways.

2019-2020 School Year

  • 109 student-athletes
  • 17 returning student-athletes
  • 18 students qualify and receive Financial Assistance from Canadian Tire Jumpstart
  • 4 students identify as Indigenous
  • 4 students identify as a person with a disability
  • 9 sport streams (Basketball, Individual Athlete Development, Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, Volleyball (New!), Okanagan Hockey)Icons showing the 2019 ASAD school year. 109 Students. 29 Female, 80 male, no other gender identifications shared. 13 Students qualify for financial Assistance. 9 Sports Streams.
In partnership with Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport (CCMHS) we support psycho-social student-athlete development: Icons showing 2 Mental Health Seminars, 41 Teachers reached, and 4,996 students reached

 New Partnerships

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Research conducted in partnership with York University, University of Alberta, and Ontario Tech University.

2019 was the 3rd year of a longitudinal research study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and framed by Positive Youth Development.

The research identifies factors of the student-athlete experience that conflict and/or contribute to Positive Youth Development, within the physical, social, psychological, and intellectual domains of development.

Student-athletes report development in community support (e.g. enhanced social network), personal growth (e.g. time management, coping skills), emotional development (e.g. sense of purpose and accomplishment), athletic performance (e.g. sport related skills) & physical training improvements (e.g. strength and conditioning).
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Presentation at the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology in Vancouver, BC 2019

ASAD Students Volunteer for ParaTough

In March 2020, 30 ASAD students volunteered during the ParaTough Cup for the Canadian Paralympic committee at Mattamy Athletic Centre, which is a fundraiser for Paralympians ahead of the Summer 2021 games in Tokyo.
The students acted as participant group liaisons, overseeing a specific team that was playing the Paralympic sport. They were responsible for cheering the team on, coaching, getting them in and out of equipment, and getting them to and from each station.
The day featured opportunities to play sledge hockey on ice and a fireside talk with an open panel Q & A where Paralympians shared their stories and experiences. This outside of the classroom educational experience is invaluable to the student athletes. They gained insight into the Paralympic athlete’s journey from beginning to end, understanding the curveballs athletes confront and the resilience necessary for the journey.

Include You

Include You is an inclusive program that encourages meaningful participation between ASAD and Thrive, an adult day program at Abilities Centre. A total of 170  high performance student-athletes and Thrive participants take part in Include You.
Quote on a yellow background: “The Include You program is so important for everyone involved. Creating a sense of belongingness and community was the main goal of the program and we can see this being achieved daily through interactions, high fives/ good mornings in the hallways and meaningful participation from both groups in scheduled activities. Thrive participants and ASAD athletes are always so eager to see each other and this eagerness is a true testament to the impact and value this program has!” – Kelsey and Victoria,


Child Sports & Games
- a wonderful place for children to learn, play and grow

Child Sports & Games offered after school and evening programs for 135 children ages 4 to 12.  

Programs offered:
  • Budding Artist
  • Martial Arts
  • Obstacle course (waitlisted program)
  • Wheelchair Basketball (doubled in growth over the course of the program due to popularity)
  • Improv


Summer & March Break Camp

  • 110 participants 

Field Trips

  • 57 inclusive field trips provided 3615 children and youth with fun, education curriculum-aligned activities
  • Students learn parasport basics, strategies for inclusivity through advanced parasport skills, active games, art, music and sensory activities
Icons showing 41 schools, 57 Field Trips, 3,615 Students reached

Mixed Ability Sport 

Mixed Ability Sport presents an exciting opportunity to engage EVERYONE in sport and recreation, no matter age, experience, or ability.

Mixed Ability Rugby (MAR) Try Day 
  • 61% of individuals that attended MAR Try Day registered for the MAR 10-week program
  • Total of 75 registered for the program
  • Average of 40 participants per week

February 2020, Abilities Centre partnered with International Mixed Ability Sports (IMAS) to become the exclusive developers and delivery agents for Mixed Ability Sport in Canada.

Quote in a Blue box: “After playing for over 20 years at all levels of the game, mixed ability reminds me why I play sport, and has influenced me to come back to sport after not playing at all over the past few years” – Participant

Throughout 2019 the groundwork was laid with Rugby Ontario as Abilities Centre began to develop the pathway to Mixed Ability Rugby programming. As part of Rugby Ontario’s action plan coming out of the LEAD process, considerable work was put into creating variations in the Rookie Rugby program plans to make them more accessible and inclusive. The updated program plans were piloted in Abilities Centre Summer Camps where one day per week was dedicated to joint program delivery between Rugby Ontario and Abilities Centre to ensure that all campers were able to participate in rugby programming using the variations that had been created.

The next phase of development focussed on the introduction of Rugby into THRIVE programming. This was an essential step in the Mixed Ability program development, introducing a new population to the sport of rugby, building their confidence and motivation to participate in rugby, as well as participants’ love for rugby.

In the fall of 2019, conversations also began with the local rugby club, the Oshawa Vikings, to begin educating their team on the concept of Mixed Ability programming for a program pilot in January of 2020. As the pilot program launch date approached, we were able to bring all three working groups: Rugby Ontario, THRIVE participants, and the Oshawa Vikings together in order to create the ultimate Mixed Ability Rugby program together, ensuring that we truly represented individuals from the entire community (people with and without disabilities, people new to the sport, people who were currently players, and those who had ‘aged’ out of the sport) participating together in a Mixed Ability environment.

Blue box with quote: “There is no question that all sports can get here when you have the right people behind the vision and really want to see it come to life! I have a feeling this is one of many Mixed Ability Sports that will be hitting the province!”   – Mixed Ability Rugby Coach

Physical Literacy & Inclusion

Abilities Centre delivered seven physical literacy and inclusion training sessions to municipal staff, Abilities Centre staff, teachers, and school administrators.

icons showing 160 teachers, 108 Municipal Staff Trained, 7,834 Students reached
Abilities Centre’s partnership with the International Physical Literacy Association is pivotal to all our work in the area of physical literacy.

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