On March 5, 2020, over 30 students from ASAD (Academy of Student Athlete Development) went to volunteer during the ParaTough Cup for the Canadian Olympic committee at Mattamy Athletic Centre, which is a fundraiser for Paralympians ahead of the Summer 2020 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.
They also got to participate and play some of the sports. They were able to take what they’re taught at ASAD and to show and teach others. This was the first time they got to play sledge hockey on ice rather than the sleds on wheels, so they loved that experience. The day featured an inspiring fireside talk with an open panel Q & A, where Paralympians were sharing their stories and experiences, which was a huge educational piece for the students. They got to understand the journey from start to end, that it’s not a straight path and there will be dead ends, ups and downs and curveballs. This part was a great learning experience for the students.
Within Abilities Centre, we always try to give our students learning outlet with Parasport or through our Include You program with Thrive. This opportunity helped students who are new get pushed beyond their comfort zone.
“For young student athletes I want to teach them that the “norm” of what they experience at Abilities Centre should be the norm outside of these walls. Giving them these opportunities really helps them grow as young human beings” - Victoria Formusa, Coordinator at ASAD.