American Coaching Team provides Sports Training for people with Disabilities in Yucatan

The National Ability Center (NAC) in partnership with the Instituto del Deporte del Estado de Yucatan (IDEY) will conduct a six day sports training in the area of adaptive sports for youth with disabilities in the city of Merida, Mexico.  Funded through the SportsUnited Division of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, the trainings are part of an eighteen month project,“Empowering Communities and Expanding Awareness: An International Sports Project for Individuals with Disabilities” (ECEA). The goal of the project is to establish sustainable sports programs that target youth with physical and developmental disabilities in Mexico that will be continued and replicated beyond the term of the grant.

Project ECEA is sending expert trainers from the United States to provide six days of specialized sports training for Mexican sport coaches and trainers focused on youth with disabilities. The training will be held at Centro Paralimpico in Merida from February 17-22. Over one hundred sport coaches will be selected from the various sports facilities in Merida as well as from other community based organizations to participate in the training. Each coach will attend clinics in three of the following five sports: wheelchair basketball, swimming, archery, weightlifting and sitting volleyball.

After a day of training the American Coaching team will assist the newly trained Mexican teachers as they instruct adaptive sports to youth with disabilities the following day. This two day training process will rotate through the groups for a total of six days. Family members and the media will be encouraged to observe to help increase interest and excitement for sports for individuals with disabilities.  In September 2013 a donation of 20 sports wheelchairs to the youth with disabilities from Merida was provided by UCP Wheels for Humanity based in Hollywood, California.

The final outcome of Project ECEA will be the establishment of disabled sports training programs that will include trained coaches, volunteers, and athletes in varying sports, trained program managers in Merida, a support system in place with government officials and human rights leaders, and systems developed for financial support and other resources. The impact of Project ECEA will lead to a change in attitude within Merida toward individuals with disabilities, expanding community awareness of the potential of persons with disabilities that will enable them to become fully active in community life.

ABOUT the National Ability Center The National Ability Center empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs.  The National Ability Center provides recreational and sports opportunities to more than 2,200 individuals with disabilities each year.  With a campus located in Park City, UT that spans 26 acres, it is one of the largest organizations in the country offering upwards of a dozen adaptive programs, including skiing, snowboarding, adaptive horseback riding, cycling and archery.  Individuals of all ages and abilities take part in the programs including those with orthopedic, spinal cord, neuromuscular, visual and hearing impairments, and cognitive and developmental disabilities. 

ABOUT the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnitedDivision – The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnitedDivision leads the U.S. Department of State’s international exchange efforts to bring the global community together through sports.  Under its International Sports Programming Initiative, public and private U.S. based non-profit organizations may submit proposals to address one of four themes: Youth Sports Engagement, Sport for Social Change, Sport and Disability, and Sport and Health.  Since 2002, the office has awarded 86 grants to U.S. non-profits to conduct programs in 57 countries around the world.

ABOUT UCP Wheels for Humanity – For 18 years UCP Wheels for Humanity (UCPW) has provided mobility to children and adults across the developing world.  Its mission works in two ways: First, by refurbishing donated wheelchairs and rehabilitation equipment back to industry standards here in the U.S.  UCPW partners with international health-care organizations and rehabilitation hospitals to identify those in greatest need to receive one of UCPW’s 5,000 wheelchairs that are distribute each year.  The wheelchairs and equipment are then shipped to partnering organizations in developing countries.