World Sport Chicago is a non-profit organization that utilizes sports to promote strength, values, and leadership. They offer sports programs and events for all athletes, including those with physical disabilities, while they strive to promote an overall healthier community. Their overall mission is “to promote the development of sustainable sports programming that improves the quality of life for under-served youth in Chicago and at-risk communities”.
Let’s take a look at 2 of the World Sport Chicago programs that are specifically designed for those with disabilities, whether physical or visual.
Valor Games Midwest
The Valor Games Midwest is an annual 3-day sports event to honor and support our country’s disabled or wounded veterans and service members as they compete is various tournaments. Veterans from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy gather from different areas of the Midwest come to participate in this event as they compete in tournaments including discus, shot put, cycling, archery, powerlifting and indoor rowing.
The United States Census Bureau shows that 3.6 million veterans in 2012 suffered from service-connected disabilities. Veterans suffer from depression, inactivity, trauma, and helplessness after fighting for our country. In order to combat these negative feelings, the Valor Games uses the community of sports to strengthen and bring injured veterans back to life, both mentally and physically.
Kallie Quinn, Associate Director of Emerging Sport Programs United States Paralympics says, “These events are very important as a way to really show veterans and their families there is life after injury.”
The Valor Games helps veterans realize that they can be just as successful and active as they were before their injuries.
More than 150 athletes participated in last year’s games, as it was the largest of the Valor Games so far. The Valor Games continues to grow as this year will the fourth annual competition and will hopefully beat last year’s record by having more than 150 participants.
They partner with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Paralympics, and Chicago Park District to make this empowering event possible.
Get involved in this year’s Valor Games happening on August 20-22, 2014 by donating or applying online to participate. Application deadline is Friday, July 26, 2014.
Chicago Paralympic Development Program
The Chicago Paralympic Development Program provides resources for athletes of all ages with disabilities to get involved with agencies that are located in the Chicago area. No other program in the country offers what they provide. This program partners with Paralympic sport providers that offer resources such as equipment, transportation, and experienced coaches.
A few of the sports for both kids and adults to get involved in include the following: Archery, Boccia, Cycling, Judo, Kayaking, Sailing, Track & Field, Triathlon, and Wheelchair basketball.
Partnerships are a high importance to World Sport Chicago as they continuously benefit and build a stronger Chicagoland community. They partner with community councils and community development corporations, neighborhood schools and parks, single-sport and multi-sport clubs, special recreation associations and Paralympic sport clubs, and parent groups.
So next time you’re driving your wheelchair vans in Illinois, plan a trip to participate in these programs or simply attend to support fellow athletes.