Most of us spend our days working at our jobs in order to make ends meet, to build a meaningful and successful future and to ensure that we are growing personally, and professionally. We get inundated by the responsibilities of our routines, and don’t often think about why we do what we do, and how it might play a role in affecting another individual. It’s not until something monumental occurs that has consequences to everyone’s lives and behaviors, that the questions of why and how and what can be done to move forward, start to surface.
Although this is true, working in the Non-Profit sector is different. Firstly, because one gets asked the question of why their work is done, very frequently. Secondly, work of a Non-Profit Organization, especially in the Social Purpose space, focuses its mandate on addressing the larger question of why an issue or disparity exists, and how to create meaningful programs and campaigns to address a need to create an appropriate, effective solution.
Flex for Access was founded with the purpose of redefining society’s perception of physical disability through the engaging in fitness and sport, and also to help individuals develop and harness newfound physical improvements and potential, through exercise and sport. It has Global Social Media reach with individuals in the community, athletes, and sport industry stakeholders such as policy leaders, educators, coaches, and fitness and health professionals using the hashtag #FlexForAccess on posts of themselves engaged in activities related to physical literacy, fitness, and sport to join and continue the conversation of the universality of movement for all to build a meaningful and strong quality of life and thrive, and as a means of physical disability management in mainstream gyms and fitness, yoga, movement and sport-based settings.
Operated nationally as a non-profit organization, Flex for Access facilitates opportunities for adaptive fitness and sport in mainstream settings, through training sessions, fitness classes and sport instruction, as well as to help affiliated partners purchase adaptive fitness equipment for facilities. Some of the underlining values of Flex for Access’ work, are awareness and education. Allowing society to realize that a physical disability is not a definitive limit to one doing anything in life, but that it means that the individual who encounters a challenge, has different ways of adapting and living their day-to day routine, and also that they develop different adaptations for executing movement, and engaging in exercise. It also means that they need to engage in exercise programming more than the average individual, in order to feel their strongest and best.
Amidst the Global COVID-19 Pandemic, Flex for Access understood that there was an increased level of urgency to facilitate opportunities for adaptive fitness and sport virtually, or through the implementation of a hybrid model with its partners and more specifically, that the education of professionals and knowledge translation for the community is most important.
“This is an under-served demographic who requires opportunities to engage in adaptive fitness and sport as a way of life and to ensure that emotionally the individuals are kept strong, relaxed without enduring additional stress to the challenges they face, and focused on feeling positive, happy and focused on success, and physically as well”, says Jess Silver, Founder and Executive Director of Flex for Access.
Through a collaborative partnership with SeeWhatSheCanDo (SWSCD), Flex for Access created opportunities to engage both community members and adaptive fitness and sport professionals.
The ParAmazing Circle was created in order to encourage women with disabilities to become active and to form a community together. Tina Finelli, Caroline Wiley, Founders of SeeWhatSheCanDo and Jess Silver and 3x Paralympian Jess Lewis Circle co-hosts, led virtual opportunities for physical activity such as adaptive yoga and adaptive dance with instructors, and also facilitated networking circles where they discussed various topics related to ParaSport and Adaptive Fitness, such as types of sports and their classification systems, types of adaptive exercise equipment and issues related to athlete recruitment, retention and advocacy. The idea that there needs to be many diverse opportunities for both the education of adaptive fitness and sport, and engagement within mainstream settings for both community members and professionals in the field(s), is what aligned Flex for Access with SeeWhatSheCanDo (SWSCD). There needs to be a shift that continues to grow in both perception and practice.
Currently, Flex for Access is in the planning stages of its 3rd gala fundraiser, “LiftUP” which will be hosted on Wednesday November 16th, 2022, from 7-11pm at the W Event Boutique on 177 Whitmore Rd in Vaughan. Get your tickets at the link below,
and join Flex for Access for a fun, memorable and impactful evening!
The theme of lifting one another up through engaging in fitness and sport is particularly poignant now, amidst and emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that fitness and sport move us, unite us, empower us, and instill and redefine resilience with every rep, set, pass, lift, push and sprint.
Learn more about Flex for Access and support the Non-Profit Organization, at www.flexforaccess.ca
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