BOULDER, Colo.--The city of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department's EXPAND program (EXciting Programs Adventures and New Dimensions) has partnered with U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), CU-Boulder Disability Services, and the Office of Veteran's Affairs to provide Paralympic sport and recreation opportunities for injured military men and women across the Front Range, as well as Boulder residents with physical and visual disabilities, and CU-Boulder students.
A kickoff event will be hosted from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at CU-Boulder's Student Recreation Center (located west of Folsom Stadium on the CU Campus). The event is free to injured service members and non-military participants with physical or visual disabilities. Training and demonstrations in wheelchair rugby, wheelchair racing, swimming, judo, basketball and handcycling will be provided by Paralympic athletes including Scott Moore (gold medal - 2004, judo), Christina Ripp (gold medals - 2004 and 2008, wheelchair basketball), Tim Willis (gold medal - 1996, track and field), Dave Denniston (NCAA champion and 2008 Paralympic swimmer) and Jacob Heilveil (three-time Paralympic wheelchair racer).
"The goal of the program is to help grow community-based Paralympic sport programs to better support the needs of injured service members within our region," said Colleen Fitzgerald, Boulder's recreation administrator for access and inclusion. "We are honored to partner with both the USOC and CU-Boulder in the kickoff event for this important new program."
CU-Boulder's Office of Veteran's Affairs and Disability Services supplied a letter of support for the program grant and provided marketing and facility support. "Our motivation is to expand adaptive recreation opportunities for students," said Howard Kramer, access specialist and assistive technology conference coordinator for Disability Services. "We hope to continue to offer activities for this ongoing program."
The program aims to improve the quality of life for area residents with physical and visual disabilities. "It is critical for our injured service members to have the opportunity to be physically active as part of the rehabilitation process," said Charlie Huebner, USOC chief of Paralympics. "There is an incredible healing power that comes from once again being active following a disabling injury."
Volunteers are needed to support this event. Interested members of the community are encouraged to contact Jen Heilveil at 303-413-7474.
To learn more about Boulder's Paralympic Military Program or EXPAND, contact Jen Heilveil at 303-413-7474 or visit http://www.boulderparks-rec.org/.