(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Miami-Dade Parks and U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, have partnered to increase awareness of and participation in local Paralympic sport opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities, and to bring together other local organizations with the same objective. The launch of Paralympic Sport Miami will be recognized at a special partnership-signing ceremony, a disability resource fair and a Paralympic Sports exhibition, featuring Paralympic athletes competing in Beijing, on Saturday, June 21, at 9:30 a.m. at Tropical Park Community Center, 7900 SW 40 Street. The public is invited to attend and the cost is free.
Decorated athletes attending the event on Saturday include three-time U.S. Paralympian and Gold and Silver medalist in shot put, Scott Danberg; 2007 Silver and Bronze medalist at the Parapan American Games and first time Paralympian, Carlos Leon; and Silver medalist and Associate Director of Outreach and Development for U.S. Paralympics John Register. They will be available to speak to individuals interested in becoming athletes and provide autographs to the public.
One of the goals of the new Paralympic Sport Club is to bring together in a more organized platform the various local organizations which already serve Miami-Dade County citizens with physical disabilities, to create, collaborate and coordinate efforts to provide sports and recreation activities to children and adults with physical or visual disabilities. Local partners will have the opportunity to collaborate on grants, clinics, competitions and events to strengthen local programs and reach out to more constituents. The assistance from a national organization such as the U.S. Olympic Committee and its Paralympics division, will help with training coaches and athletes, structuring events, and provide scholarships for staff to attend conferences.
Another goal of the program is to help identify and train local athletes from Miami-Dade County who may be able to compete at the elite level in the next Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
Organizations committed to joining in support at the signing ceremony include Abilities of Florida, Colusana, Mapet Angels Sled Hockey Team, Paralyzed Veteran’s Association of Florida, Florida Health Dept. Children’s Medical Services, Center for Independent Living of South Florida, Leisure Access Foundation, United States Tennis Association of Florida, City of Miami Parks, Dade County Public Schools – SCORE Program, and the University of Miami Mailman Center for Childhood Development. More organizations are expected to join.
The event will also feature a Resource Fair to provide the public with general and recreational information for persons with disabilities. Participants include Abilities of Florida; Center for Independent Living of South Florida; City of Miami Park and Recreation Department; Colusana; Disability Expo; FL Health Dept. Children’s Medical Services; Florida Department of Veteran Affairs; Leisure Access Foundation; Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department; Miami-Dade Parks Eco-Adventures; Shake-A-Leg, Miami; United States Tennis Association of Florida; University of Miami Mailman Center for Childhood Development; and VitaGlide by Rehamed International.
For more information, please call 305-755-7848 (voice) or 305-755-7980 (TDD) or visit the Miami-Dade Parks website at www.miamidade.gov/parks.
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