Podi, inspired by a real-life feline, will promote a free online school programme (‘It's The Real Deal’) sponsored by Petro-Canada.
The programme, which includes downloadable fun and interactive activities, athlete interviews and photos for students in grades four to seven, aims to raise awareness of Paralympic sport and athletes with a physical disability. Inaugurated in 2003, it was recently updated to include more information about the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Teachers can participate in a teacher's-only discussion board, provide feedback about the programme and submit their own student activities to share with fellow teachers.
"Podi has joined the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to increase Canadian's knowledge and understanding of the Paralympic Games and inspire people to follow our Canadian heroes all the way to the 2010 Games," said CPC President Carla Qualtrough. "We're pleased that Petro-Canada shares the same vision of education through sport and we are grateful for their support of the programme."
Podi was chosen as the mascot following a contest held last year for students through programme. The contest winner, Alexandria Tiffinger, based her entry on her three-legged cat, Mr. Morris.
Besides visits to various schools all over Canada, Podi will participate in promotional events. Students can interact with Podi anytime via Facebook (www.facebook.com) and Myspace (http://www.myspace.com/podiparalympic).
The Petro-Canada Paralympic Schools Programme can be downloaded, free of charge, from the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s website at www.paralympic.ca.