Wheelchair Basketball Canada, in collaboration with the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association (OWSA), celebrated the official launch of its Schools Programme on Thursday (30 March) in front of 350 students at Banting and Best Public School in Scarborough.
The Schools Programme is designed to educate teachers and students about wheelchair basketball and encourage youth, with or without adisability impairment, to be physically active.
It was made possible through a CAD 630,500 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is an agency of the Government of Ontario.
“With the 2017 Men’s [Under-23] U23 World Championship coming to Toronto in June, we are thrilled to leverage event hosting to continue building meaningful legacies in the community,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada Executive Director Wendy Gittens. “The Schools Programme is one such legacy that will promote inclusion and support the development of the sport at the grassroots level leading up to and beyond the event.”
With the support of the OWSA, the Schools Programme is currently being offered to elementary, middle and high schools in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through to the 2018-19 school year.
It provides teachers with the opportunity to host a sport demonstration featuring athlete role models, access to a national wheelchair basketball resource guide, and the opportunity for schools to rent sport wheelchairs which allows them to implement wheelchair basketball programming at their school.
Sunrise Medical, a world-leading sport wheelchair manufacturer and the official wheelchair supplier of Wheelchair Basketball Canada, has supplied more than 30 sport wheelchairs in support of the Programme.
Participating schools also have the opportunity to attend the Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship from 8-16 June at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.
Team Canada player and Paralympian Ben Moronchuk said: “The Schools Programme is an excellent way to share our passion for wheelchair basketball with kids in the community and it is so great to see the smiles on their faces when they try the sport for the first time. We really hope these kids stick with the sport and hope to see them come out and cheer on Team Canada at the World Championship in June.”
More information on the Schools Programme can be found on Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s website.