Friday, March 9, 2012

City gets grant to help injured vets, but ...

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM

The City of Colorado Springs Therapeutic Recreation Program has long been helping injured and disabled vets and other citizens in the area to move their bodies.

Now the program has something to celebrate, but also some uncertainty on the horizon.

A recent $31,000 grant from the United States Olympic Committee‘s U.S. Paralympics division, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Recreation and Park Association will help further the program's aim to help injured veterans. (The program also gets funding from the city to help others in the community.)

But one of the program's main stomping grounds could be in jeopardy. The city's Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center has long been used for the program's summer camp, aqua rehab classes, fitness classes for adults with developmental disabilities and programs for injured vets. But it's not been determined if the pool with still be available to that program if the YMCA takes over city pools in April.

The TR program also uses other facilities scattered across the city, but Cottonwood is an important resource, especially since it has a pool, which is essential to many of the activities.

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City Therapeutic Recreation Program receives $31,000 in grant funding from USOC and NRPA to serve injured service members and veterans in Colorado Springs

The City of Colorado Springs Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Program has received $31,000 in grant funding to continue programming for injured service members and veterans in Colorado Springs; $11,000 from the United States Olympic Committee‘s U.S. Paralympics division through funding provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and $20,000 from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)’s Parks: Return & Restore program, a partnership between U.S. Paralympics and NRPA.

This funding allows the TR Program to offer adaptive sports and physical training opportunities for injured service members and expand opportunities for injured veterans in the Colorado Springs community.
“The TR Program has been fortunate to be recipients of these grants. Over the years we have been thrilled to witness changes in physical activity and self-confidence through participation in program activities of biathlon, adaptive cycling, and adaptive sports. We look forward to continuing to grow our programming to benefit disabled service members in our community by implementing additional activities of archery, “Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies”, and more adaptive sports. We’ve seen firsthand the transformation of injured service members that can happen through sport and physical activity, from overall improved health, to adjustment to disability and maximizing individuals’ abilities, to transitioning back into the local community,” said Diane Ridderhoff, TR Program Supervisor.

More than $4.4M in funds from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded to 95 community organizations around the country. Through this program, grants ranging from $2,500 to $500,000 were provided to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically or visually impaired Veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sport programs at the regional and national levels.

“This funding is already having a tremendous impact on disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Through the USOC/Veterans Affairs partnership many community programs have been able to expand their programming and provide increased opportunities for Veterans to participate.”

The City of Colorado Springs Therapeutic Recreation Program was officially designated a Paralympic Sport Club in July 2008 by U.S. Paralympics. As a Paralympic Sport Club, the Therapeutic Recreation Program provides club sport programs, Paralympic Academies, and sport clinics. For more information, visit www.SpringsGov.com/TR.
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