WheelKids participant Zane Brooks, 8, checks out one of Paralympic champion Michelle Stilwell’s medals at Fairview Community School on Monday. The program teaches children with mobility challenges fundamental movement skills needed to participate in team sports. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

WheelKids participant Zane Brooks, 8, checks out one of Paralympic champion Michelle Stilwell’s medals at Fairview Community School on Monday. The program teaches children with mobility challenges fundamental movement skills needed to participate in team sports. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo WheelKids teaches sports fundamentals

Children with physical challenges prepare for team sports through PacificSport program

Kids who use wheels to move around, play and do other physical activities are participating in team sports at Fairview Community School.

PacificSport Vancouver Island and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools have teamed up with the Nanaimo Child Development Centre and the Let’s Play program to get kids into team sports and other activities.

The WheelKids program teaches children 5-12 how to manoeuvre their wheelchairs, throw, catch and other fundamental movement skills and learn how to work in teams as a foundation to prepare them to move on to traditional sports, such as basketball and rugby.

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The program has been hosted weekly at Fairview Community School and its final session for the school year took place Monday when Michelle Stilwell, Parksville-Qualicum MLA and Paralympic champion, came out to show her medals to the children and inspire them to pursue and attain their goals in life.

PacificSport noted in a press release that demand for the program has been strong and the organization plans to expand the program to include powered wheelchairs and other adaptive sports in September.

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