Tuesday, July 29, 2014

‘Run to Learn’ program encourages students with disabilities

For children with disabilities, participation in the right exercise program can improve their quality of life and increase their aerobic capacity and overall mobility.

Achilles Kids Run to Learn program For more than 60 district and charter students, the "Achilles Kids: Run to Learn" program provided them the opportunity to exercise and compete in a virtual 26.2 mile marathon over the course of the 2013-14 school year. Each participant received a new pair of Saucony running shoes and an Achilles International t-shirt.

“The facial expressions of the students were priceless,” said teacher Daniel Feldman, who coordinates the program. “In addition to receiving new running shoes, the students felt achievement in reaching their physical activity goals and in the process, gained confidence and had fun.”

As part of the marathon, students from grades K-8 complete as many laps as they can based on their ability levels. Some of them are physically challenged, medically fragile, and/or intellectually challenged. To complete this marathon, they run, jog, walk, or someone pushes their wheelchairs during this year-long adapted physical education activity.

This is the 13th consecutive year that Feldman has coordinated the Achilles Kids program, which is part of the Achilles International program that helps bring hope, inspiration, and joys of achievement to children with disabilities. Participants included students who receive adapted physical education from schools including Euclid Elementary, Hollie Drive Charter School, Horton Elementary, Knox Middle, Marshall Elementary, Paradise Hills Elementary, and Riley School.

“With the help of this program,” Feldman said, “my students have been eager to attend their adapted physical education class.”

For more information, contact Carrie Rea, Program Manager, Related and Specialized Services, crea@sandi.net or call 858-573-5941.