U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), has selected United States Sailing Association, Inc. (US Sailing) to receive grant funding in support of Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. More than $7.5M in funds from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded to 70 community organizations and National Governing Bodies around the country.
Through this program, grants ranging from $13,000 to $500,000 were provided to USOC partner organizations and community programs 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.
“It is truly an honor to be able to introduce the sport of sailing to wounded, ill and injured service men and women,” said Betsy Alison, Paralympic Coach for US Sailing and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, the national sailing team. “US Sailing and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider are so pleased to be able to offer an experience which we hope will lead to ongoing pipeline programming for those with a physical disability and other accompanying injuries like TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).”
“This funding has allowed thousands of veterans and service members with physical disabilities to participate in Paralympic sport at the community level,” said Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. “Through the leadership at Veterans Affairs and within Congress, these funds have a tremendous impact on the availability of programs across the country, not to mention thousands of lives.”
US Sailing’s “Learn to Race” camps for veterans are designed to give athletics-minded military personnel an immersion experience in what it takes to become a Paralympic sailor. US Sailing instructors have found that the sport of sailing not only offers the opportunity to become competitive at a sport at the highest level, but provides an avenue for social and psychological reintegration of our service members back into everyday life. Research has shown that regular participation in physical activity has a positive effect on the rehabilitation process, self-esteem, education, employment and overall health.
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org
The grant funding for this program is awarded by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, through funding provided by Veterans Affairs. The military grants are provided to facilitate the growth of Paralympic sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.
(Article source: Will Ricketson, Olympic Communications Manager, US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider)