Sault Accessible Sports Inc., in Sault Ste. Marie


[swoosh] ANNOUNCER: Here is an
AMI This Week Shortcut with Alex Smyth. [music playing] GERARD TAYLOR: Hi. I’m Gerard Taylor, Vice Chair
of Sault Accessible Sports. Here we are up at North
Cross Bowling Lanes, one of our many community
partners, and enjoying a couple of games of bowling
with our participants here. MAN: Perfect. DON CALVERT: We have
about eight participants tonight, which is
an average night. Things are terrific, and
they’re about to go off just as scheduled. ALEX SMYTH: Bowling
night is courtesy of Sault Accessible Sports Inc.,
a not-for-profit organization in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. They help bring people
of varying abilities together to participate in
different sports, like bowling, sledge hockey, wheelchair
basketball, bocce, wheelchair karate, and archery. Sierra Grandinetti has been a
participant for a few years. SIERRA GRANDINETTI:
I enjoy coming because it gets me
involved in the community, and to be able to
interact with friends. And I like sports, so
it gets me involved with being able to play
a sport with bowling. ALEX SMYTH: The goal is to
give hope, build community, and increase physical activity
in the disability community. It’s also about having fun, says
bowling night organizer Mark Anderson. MARK ANDERSON: It is just a
nice to have fun with friends. There are a few of us,
like me and my wife, we can make it
competitive. We’re always
hassling each other. ALEX SMYTH: Mark’s wife,
Kim Anderson, is all for a supportive environment. But if you ask her about
competing with her husband– KIM ANDERSON: If I say
no, I’m lying. But yes, I compete with him. ALEX SMYTH: It’s a great
night for everyone thanks to the volunteers, partners,
and the organization. The man behind it is Founder
and Chairman Don Calvert. He, Gerard, and the
rest of the team have been running
Sault Accessible Sports Inc. for almost a decade. DON CALVERT: After I was injured
in a motor vehicle accident, I realized that there’s nothing
in Sault Ste. Marie for people with disabilities to participate
in reference to sport. I was lucky that I was
injured later in life. I had the privilege
of playing sport because I couldn’t imagine
my life if you took sport out of it. And there’s a lot more
involved with sport than just the obvious physical
benefits and health benefits. It fosters self-esteem,
friendships, self-confidence, the feeling of
belonging to a group. ALEX SMYTH: In 2009, after
becoming a Rick Hansen ambassador, Don decided to
start Sault Accessible Sports. They became the first
not-for-profit accessible sports organization in Canada
and raised enough money to purchase expensive sports
equipment, the kind that keeps sports like sledge hockey
out of reach for many folks. Now participants can try
any of the sports offered at little to no cost. DON CALVERT: The big impetus
for me getting involved was helping all the kids. And when you see the smiles
on the faces of the children, or even adults that have
never played an organized sport in their lives, it really
gives you a good feeling. WOMAN: Yes. DON CALVERT: Thanks
to the dedicated volunteers of Sault
Accessible Sports, we’re able to offer programs. GERARD TAYLOR: It’s all
about participation, and just coming out and
having fun, and seeing the smiles and the enjoyment,
of meeting new people, making new friends. SIERRA GRANDINETTI: It helps
people with disabilities like me to be able to boost
your self-esteem, [inaudible] being involved. And so it’s an all around
positive experience. ALEX SMYTH: If you’d
like to find out more, check out
saultaccessiblesports.org, or you can find
them on Facebook. Oh, and just so you
know, Kim won the game.

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