Manchester, NH – Thursday October 25,2012 –AbilityPLUS™ Adaptive Sports announced today that the organization is one of just 97 community based organizations nationwide to receive a funding grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs and US Olympic Committee (USOC) in support of Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.
The Olympic Opportunity Fund is provided through a partnership between the USOC and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 were awarded to increase the number and quality of opportunities for injured veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sport programs. AbilityPLUS was awarded $25,000 and will use the funds to support its Soldiers for Soldiers™ program.
“Soldiers for Soldiers is designed to promote independence and quality of life for veterans who incurred life changing injury as a result of their service to America,” explained AbilityPLUS Board Chairman Mark Shepherd. “Many come to us with serious injuries, including amputations, traumatic brain injuries, visual and hearing impairments, and often with emotional scars from experiencing the trauma of war. This grant will be instrumental as we continue to expand programs and outreach.”
AbilityPLUS Soldiers For Soldiers is an adaptive sports mentoring program that pairs injured service men and women with soldiers who have already participated in the program. It currently offers a number of activities geared specifically for veterans and members of the Armed Forces and their families including a multi day Alpine ski and alumni weekend event at Mount Snow VT, a day of Alpine skiing in collaboration with the Winter Wonderland celebration in the Mount Washington Valley and several emerging athlete-wounded warrior ski/race camps that prepare athletes for Paralympic race competition.
"This funding is helping to meet the need for Paralympic and adaptive sport programming for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces in communities across the country," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there were 20 veterans and service members on the U.S. team who accounted for a total of 13 U.S. medals. We hope to build on that success at the elite level as well as continue to grow the number of veterans participating in Paralympic and adaptive sport at the grassroots level moving forward."
“We’re thrilled to once again have the value of Soldiers for Soldiers be recognized by the USOC and the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said AbilityPLUS, AbilityPLUS Executive Director of Programs, “We see firsthand the positive effect the program has, and this grant will allow us to help more injured veterans improve their lives,” continued . “We’d love to see Soldiers For Soldiers athletes be among those who compete at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi Russia!”
Founded as a 501c3 in 1997, AbilityPLUS offers adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for individuals with all manner of physical and developmental disabilities, from severe physical impairments to people with autism across the spectrum. The programs are designed to create freedom, promote independence, support inclusion and help those individuals and their families discover their full social, emotional and athletic potential. Programs are provided year ‘round from facilities at Mount Snow VT, Attiatsh NH, Wildcat, NH and with affiliate and special programs throughout New England. AbilityPLUS is a Chapter of Disabled Sports, USA and is a Paralympic Sport Club. For more information visit www.abilityPLUS.org or call (800) 287-8415 x103.