Each year during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (Wheelchair Games), a special day is set aside to introduce children with disabilities to the world of adaptive sports. This year’s Kids Day offered children with physical disabilities from the local Richmond area an opportunity to interact with athletes who are competing in the 32nd Wheelchair Games. Under the guidance of these experienced athlete mentors, the children received an opportunity to participate in three adaptive sports activities: softball, basketball and wheelchair slalom.
“Kids Day is the highlight of my week, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” says Joey Avellone, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Paralyzed Veterans’ member and one of this year’s Kids Day mentors. “In addition to showing the kids what adaptive sports are all about, I want to tell the kids about the importance of an education and that they can become anything they want using their brain—that a good education can overcome any physical disability.”
The 12th annual Kids Day took place Wednesday, June 27, at 9 a.m. at the Diamond Lot at Sports Backers stadium.
The annual event was sponsored by HP, which has been a proud supporter of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games for 14 years and the Host Sponsor of Kids Day for 12 years.
“Kids Day has proven over the years to be a highlight of the Wheelchair Games, not only for the children participating but for their parents, volunteers and the veterans there to mentor them,” said Tom Hempfield, vice president, U.S. Federal Business Organization, HP. “In addition to serving as a sponsor for the games, we also encourage our employees to attend Kids Day to see for themselves how great an experience this is for the kids. The event really encourages these kids and shows them that with a positive attitude and support from the community they can achieve anything.”
Kids Day promotes a fun and active everyday lifestyle to children with disabilities while engendering important life skills, such as teamwork and determination. Each child will be presented a medal for participating in this year’s Kids Day event.
Kids Day is free and open to the public to attend. (Child participants have already been pre-registered for event.) All others are encouraged to come out and cheer on the Kids Day athletes. For more information, please visit www.wheelchairgames.va.gov or www.pva.org/games.