College Wins $250,000 Grant to Provide Programs for Blind ChildrenJuly 22, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 22, 2003 -- Springfield College’s United States Sport and Wellness Center for Persons With Disabilities (USSWC) has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind to continue to provide sport, socialization and recreation programs for local legally blind children over the next 10 years.
According to Carl Fetteroll, director of the USSWC, “This is a program to help legally blind children of ages five through 14 to develop their spirits, minds, and bodies. Physical fitness is especially important for visually impaired individuals because they have to use larger amounts of energy to reach the same goals as their seeing peers. Equally important, sport is a vehicle for changing attitudes of blind people toward themselves and of sighted people toward those who are blind.”
Participating children will be transported from their homes by Springfield College vans to the college’s Judd Gymnasia on two Saturdays each month from September to June and to the college’s Camp Massasoit for up to two weeks in the summer.
Saturday activities may include field trips for hiking, tandem biking, fishing, museum tours and more. There will be indoor physical fitness activities, recreational games, art and crafts activities, story reading, lunch, snacks, and other events.
At Camp Massasoit, a summer youth camp on Springfield College’s East Campus, participating youngsters will be integrated into every aspect of regular camp programming for their age groups. Activities will be adapted through a variety of methods including printed materials in Braille and detailed verbal instruction added to visual demonstrations of activities for sighted campers. Among the camping skills that will be taught are pitching a tent, finding sources of water, preparing food, and more.
Springfield College students of adapted physical education, under the direction of Professor of Physical Education Elizabeth Evans, will staff the programs. Undergraduate students will work one-on-one with participating children throughout the academic year. A graduate student will work on program development.