Rochester and Buffalo to collaborate on inclusive sports opportunities for people with disabilities

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Rochester and Buffalo are teaming up for an accessible and inclusive sports initiative for both youth and adults.

The Rochester Accessible Adventures (RAA) organization is partnering with Greater Buffalo Adaptive Sports (GBAS) to form the Western New York Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Collaborative. The Collaborative will establish “sustainable access to sports” for both youth and adults with I/DD and physical disabilities.

Both RAA and GBAS have created adaptive and inclusive sports programming within the Rochester and Buffalo areas, respectively. This collaboration between the two organizations will work at a regional level, ensuring both recreational and competitive sports opportunities. The Collaborative will work not only to establish these unique opportunities, but to develop and sustain their presence and availability in the Western New York region.

In a joint press release, the organizations said they are “committed to addressing barriers to sports which often hinder a person with a disability from accessing those activities.” They also said that this unique collaboration will allow the strategic planning of “the development of sports such as wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, and wheelchair lacrosse,” throughout the WNY area, “developing new opportunities for recreation program development and sports team formation.”

The President of GBAS, Norm Page, commented on the collaboration, saying it will make sports more financially accessible, as well as more physically accessible. “The beneficiaries will be athletes and their families, a community that previously has been impacted by prohibitive costs and few choices to participate. It gives access to and the affordability of sports and competition through regional play. With this collaborative model we can give people access to the many therapeutic benefits that sports provide.”

“We are thrilled,” said Anita O’Brien, who is the RAA’s Executive Director. “This decision to move from local sports planning to a stronger regional approach has been a long time in the making, as we have solidified our model for addressing barriers that typically inhibit youth and adults from accessing sports.” O’Brien said this collaboration is a perfect extension of the Rochester Accessible Adventures organization’s mission of ensuring that “recreation as a whole is provided equitably and inclusively in our community, so that youth and adults can access the many benefits of their activity of choice alongside their friends and peers.”

Both organizations will continue independently communicating the expanded opportunities in their respective communities.

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