HCN News & Notes

Springfield College to Host Adapt with Pride Outreach Event April 15

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College, in collaboration with the Center for Human Development’s (CHD) Disability Resources program, will host Adapt with Pride, a sports-sampler community-outreach event to engage area families in conversations and explorations of adaptive supports and recreational opportunities available through Disability Resources. The event will take place on Saturday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Dana Gym, located in the Wellness Center on the main campus of Springfield College. Admission is free.

Adapt with Pride will showcase several adaptive sports and activities and build awareness of area programs for youth and adults with disabilities as well as their families. There will be hands-on opportunities to try a variety of adaptive sports and activities, including wheelchair basketball, adaptive volleyball, adaptive soccer, taekwondo, disc golf, and arts and crafts. By sampling the programs, participants will gain a better understanding of the fundamentals of the programs, which will help to reduce barriers that commonly prevent individuals from participating in community programs.

“Service to the community is an essential component of what we are about here in Springfield College,” said Ariel Rodríguez, associate professor and Recreation Management Program director in the college’s Department of Sport Management and Recreation. “Through this course, students contribute to the college’s mission while gaining a deeper understanding of what it takes to design and implement special events in the community. Professor Bob Accorsi has been working with agencies that provide services for people with disabilities for many years now. When the semester began, I mentioned that I wanted to collaborate with an agency to put on a special event. Professor Accorsi and our chair, Dr. Kevin McAllister, mentioned CHD might be a good partner, especially as we’ve been looking for ways to strengthen our relationship.”

The Adapt with Pride event is the responsibility of undergraduate students enrolled in a course called Event Management and Promotions. Most of these students are in the Recreation Management program at Springfield College. The development and implementation of this event fulfills a large portion of the experiential portion of the class. By working on a real-life project and collaborating with CHD and program participants, the students gain relevant, career-focused experience.

For decades, CHD has been fully committed to the health and wellness of the disabled population, said Jessica Levine, program manager for CHD Disability Resources. “Our staff is dedicated to providing creative thinking and personal service that helps our clients find individual success by emphasizing what they can do. Adapt with Pride at Springfield College provides a great opportunity for individuals and families to investigate new options, participate in activities that are exciting and fun, and meet people and families with similar interests. We are excited to be part of this program and especially want to thank Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for his ongoing support of programs that support people with disabilities and their families.”

Sarno, who has been instrumental in securing a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) totaling $5,000 to help fund Adapt with Pride, is scheduled to be at the event at 11 a.m. CDBG Programs receive funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to state and local governments which, in turn, allocate them for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income areas or individuals. The city of Springfield’s CDBG Program is designed to expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income citizens, including those with disabilities, through the provision of public services, acquisition and improvements to public facilities, neighborhood improvements, and housing and economic-development opportunities.