December 15, 2022
December 15, 2022
For many families who come to Vecova, the feeling of belonging starts once they join the Adapted Recreation program. These classes, which include programs for children, youth and adults, are for people who have barriers to sports and other fitness activities. It offers participants a place to gain skills and confidence in a safe, open, and inclusive environment.
For the Tran family, it’s become a place for 10-year-old Duc and 8-year-old An to grow.
When Hieu and his wife, Hong, first learned about the program, they were just simply looking for something for their kids to do on weekends. But now, thanks to the activities and the volunteers who work with the participants, it’s become the highlight of the week for their children.
“Even if I’m 5 minutes late, they both wait at the front door, ready to leave. They’re ready to go. We even cancelled our camping trips so that they won’t miss a class.”
To Hieu, his children’s positive experience is something that can only happen at Vecova. It’s why the Children’s Adapted Recreation program has meant so much to him and his wife.
Hieu compared it to other experiences he and his children have had. Other recreation centres can be overwhelming. They’re especially overwhelming for Duc, who has autism and is non-verbal, and for An, who has ADHD. Other facilities have larger class sizes, distracting wave pools, and instructors who may not be as well-trained in working with people with different abilities. These are things that he’s noticed make it more difficult for many children to focus.
But with Vecova’s Adapted Recreation program, the children get two full hours of activity in both the gym and pool with participants and instructors of all abilities.
“They never get bored. Some may have more fun in the gym, some may have more fun in the pool, but having both offered for two hours is the perfect mix and perfect length. Not too long, not too short.”
For Hieu, the highlight is the group of instructors who run the program, many of whom are volunteers. These individuals make connections with the children in the program. These instructors, some of whom have disabilities themselves, make sure that each child, no matter their ability or circumstance, feels like they belong.
“I know that we have peace of mind that we’ve left Duc and An with a capable group of instructors. It’s a good ratio of instructors to children, and the staff are well-trained. They can deal with any difficulties. It’s a safe place for my kids.”
He continued, “That’s one of the things we were most afraid of when we sent them to the group, especially Duc. He is kind of rigid in his ways. It’s really hard for him to join new or different groups,” Hieu explained. “But somehow, with these instructors, he has no issue with it. They’re all nice, so Duc is more open to interactions with other people. What I’m seeing is like his enlightenment.”
For families with children who have special needs or challenges, Hieu encourages them to consider the Adapted Recreation programs. There’s no better place to find inclusive programming, led by employees who care.
“I truly appreciate the instructors and the program. Vecova fits my family so well. My family belongs at Vecova.”