- 21 February 2014
- by Sophie Bernstein
Passion for sports? Promote fitness in your community by hosting a Sports-For-All Clinic. VolunTEENnation.org can provide you with funding, support and guidance to host your own sports clinic for youth on the autism spectrum. All children need to exercise and benefit from participating in sports programs. For children living with autism, fitness can be challenging, since many communities lack recreational and athletic programs for youth on the autism spectrum. To date over 1,500 youth and young volunteers have volunteered and participated in our Sports-For-All programs throughout the nation. Exercise programs help improve children’s hand-eye coordination, their motor skills and their ability to focus. In addition, the sports clinics provide opportunities for both the participants and the parents for socializing during the sports clinics. Our grant can help fund the facility rental, healthy snacks, promotional fliers and/or equipment costs.
Background/History: In 2011. Our young neighbors interest in a tennis racket was the motivation for us to create a social and recreational opportunity for youth on the autism spectrum. There are very few extracurricular outlets for youth on the autism spectrum. Our nine-year-old twin neighbors, Max and Charlie, are on the autism spectrum. They would see us carrying our tennis rackets to school each morning during the high school tennis season and ask questions. Since both boys were intrigued by our tennis rackets, we asked their parents if we could provide them with tennis lessons. The boys’ parents welcomed the idea and shared that there were limited physical, social and recreational opportunities for youth on the autism spectrum. My siblings and I realized that other youth with special needs would also benefit from free sports clinics. We reached out to area high school tennis teams and reserved tennis courts to offer our first free tennis clinic in 2011. The children and volunteers return eager and enthusiastic to participate in each program. There was a tremendous outpouring of interest from area high school students to volunteer which allowed us to provide individualized instruction for each child. The overwhelming interest and support for the free tennis clinic inspired us to also offer soccer and basketball clinics for youth on the autism spectrum.
VolunTEENnation.org is a non-profit corporation formed to inspire, engage and activate youth to get involved and volunteer in the community. We provide grants to implement sports programs for youth with special needs led by youth volunteers. If interested in applying for a grant you will need to complete an online grant application and email your request with two letters of reference on official school or group letterhead with the reference’s contact information. One letter must be from your school coach or community recreation supervisor that is willing to host the event and the other may be from your principal, adult advisor, and/or local Autism Support Group.
Apply for grant to host a Sports-For-All Clinic online: http://bit.ly/Sports4AllGrant