In the beginning of May the YMCA Academy participated in the program Enabling Change. Throughout the week students from 3 classes spent the day in wheelchairs to experience some of the challenges and barriers people in wheelchairs may experience within the school and the neighbourhood. At the end of the week Enabling Change came to the YMCA Academy and brought in some athletic wheelchairs. They gave us the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball with a professional wheelchair basketball player.

One of the ways OWSA (Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association) educates people on wheelchair athletics is through allowing people to participate in a game of wheelchair basketball. We learned from, that wheelchair basketball is a way for people in wheelchairs to continue to live an active healthy lifestyle. Students at the Academy were very excited to have the chance to participate in this activity and learned a lot about the sport.

Enabling Change is a program within the OWSA. It is an organization that aims to educate students about; invisible and visible disabilities, proper vocabulary when talking about disabilities, understanding the barriers faced by wheelchair users, inclusiveness and respect. The YMCA Academy decided to participate in this program to see how accessible our school is, and to see if any improvements need to be made to make our school to be more accessible.

These are the few things that some of the YMCA students had to say about the activity:

“I now realize some of the difficulties people in wheelchairs face because maybe their favorite place isn’t accessible, and how we should make those places accessible” – Archie Grant

“ The moment I sat in the wheelchair I didn’t even know how to turn, it was a really hard and time consuming thing to learn but eventually I got the hang of it. I now see how people in wheelchairs feel”- Mahadir Khan

“This activity showed me more about the daily life of a wheelchair user and showed me the struggles of it and the benefits” – James

“This program is a good way of recognizing some barriers within our school and community that you would never have thought about, as well as strategies to make our community more accessible to everyone.” – Jonah

Overall this opportunity was a very positive experience and left the students with a better understanding of the daily life of someone in a wheelchair. Enabling Change helped give us a new insight into how accessible our school and community is. The students at the school found a new perspective towards wheelchairs and realized how accessibility is important not only in school but all over our community.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

For more Information:

Enabling Change

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