Celebration of Abilities Day By Nicole Ludwig
On Thursday, SDJA and the PTO hosted our first annual Celebration of Abilities in partnership with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). This was our first of a series of events we have put together to create awareness and tolerance of what it means to have a physical disability, leading up to the Jogathon on April 11th.
The event was a huge success due to the incredible engagement of the students who participated in a series of fun and engaging activities designed to teach them about living with a physical challenge, including wheelchair basketball, obstacle courses with their legs tied together, drawing objects with a blindfold on, and shooting basketballs with one hand tied behind their back.
We were also so inspired by our speaker Megan Blunk, a Paralympian wheelchair basketball player who became paralyzed on the back of a motorcycle 10 years ago. She shared her incredible story about getting back into the game of life through sports and encouraged the children to live with no regret and to embrace challenges and differences. She also joined the kids in playing wheelchair basketball and the kids were so amazed by her skills and could barely wait to play along side her.
When the kids returned to their classrooms, the teachers asked the kids to reflect on the morning and share their thoughts and feelings on what it felt like to feel physically challenged. See some of our beautiful insight below:
“Today I learned that our differences are important, anything is possible, and that you should never lose hope in yourself.”
“Today I learned that if something bad happens you can get angry, but you can’t go back and change it. You can only go forward and learn from it, and live your life the way it is.”
“Today I learned that you need to face your fears. I also learned that when something bad happens you need to make the most of it. We need to see the glass half full, just like Megan.”
“What I took away from Megan’s story was that even though times can be rough, just believing in yourself and trying your best can take you very far in life.”
“Dear Megan, I loved trying all of those things. I also loved seeing you. I wish I could have given you a hug and remember always embrace your differences.” Love, Lev
I enjoyed my time doing the activities. Doing them taught me 3 things: 1, if you are someone who when you stub your toe or fall on your knee and you think it’s the end of the world, you should think about things from a different perspective, because some people have to live with no toes or legs or any of the things that a typical person has. 2, regret is one of the worst feelings that you can have and that if you have a chance to do something that you love, then you should do it. 3, if you are different from everyone else, then you should own it.
She inspired me in the sense that I should do what I want to do, and not to care about what other people think of me. I also learned that everyday we should wake up and be thankful for what we have.” –Sabrina
“After meeting Megan, I learned that everyone has their differences and every one of them makes you unique. I also learned that you should always be open to opportunities.” -Eric
“I learned that even if you get hurt you should get back up and keep on doing what you like to do. Meeting Megan reminded me of a quote by Serena Williams that says ‘a winner is defined not by their wins but on how they can recover when they fall.’” -Gaby