CPC's Changing Minds, Changing Lives expands into Alberta

    EDMONTON, Dec. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee's
Changing Minds, Changing Lives: Rehabilitation Through Sport (CMCL) program is
expanding to Alberta through a partnership with the Alberta, Sport,
Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation (ASRPWF) and The Steadward Centre.
    "We are proud to announce our support today - International Day for
Persons with a Physical Disability - for this program. Our goal is that people
with a disability will be provided increased and enhanced opportunities to
participate in sport," said ASRPWF chair Orest Korbutt.
    The ASRPWF will provide The Steadward Centre with $10,000 through its
Sport Participation Initiative Grant to pilot the program in the province. A
portion of the funding is provided to the ASRPWF through Sport Canada.
    The Changing Minds, Changing Lives program is aimed at providing
frontline healthcare service providers across Alberta with information about
the Paralympic Movement, sporting opportunities for people with a physical
disability, and the social and physical benefits of sports. The ultimate goal
is to increase the participation rate of Albertans with a physical disability
in sport.
    "Less than 3% of Canadians with physical disabilities regularly
participate in organized sport, while the figure jumps to 31% for able-bodied
Canadians," said CPC President Carla Qualtrough. "Expanding the Changing
Minds, Changing Lives program into Alberta should lead to more Canadians with
a physical disability becoming active. Everyone should be given the
opportunity to reap the benefits of physical activity and sport, which include
improved health and mobility, better quality of life, broadened horizons and
the cementing of new friendships."
    Through hour and a half workshops given by healthcare professionals to
their peers, the goal of the program is to influence people on the frontline
of healthcare to use sport as a vehicle in rehabilitation and integration. The
workshop also includes a Paralympic athlete giving a personal account of how
sport changed his or her life.
    "Although a lot is known about the benefits of sport participation for
Canadians with physical disabilities, this information is not consistently
disseminated to healthcare professionals. Bringing Changing Minds, Changing
Lives to Alberta should help bridge the gap," said Donna Goodwin, Associate
Professor at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Physical Education and
    Changing Minds, Changing Lives gives participants a better understanding
of the benefits of sport participation for persons with a physical disability,
a basic understanding of the variety of Paralympic sports and athlete
classifications, increased awareness of the opportunities for sport
participation for people with a physical disability, and will hopefully
inspire them to motivate persons with a physical disability to actively
participate in regular physical activity and sport.
    The program was piloted in Ontario in 2005 and is now also offered in
British Columbia. The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement,
which operates within the University of Alberta's Faculty of Physical
Education and Recreation, will oversee the initiative with the support of
Dr. Trish Manns, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy.

    About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic
Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games.
The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all
levels. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

    About the Alberta, Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation

    The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation (ASRPWF) is
a non-profit Crown corporation that provides a variety of programs to enhance
activity, improve lifestyles, foster enjoyment of the outdoors, and protect
nature in Alberta.

    About The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement

    The Centre is a disability research centre, providing high-calibre,
research-based physical activity and sport programs for children, youths and
adults with disabilities.

For further information:

For further information: Norma Reveler, media relations, Canadian
Paralympic Committee, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227, norma@paralympic.ca

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