WHEELING – Folks of all ages and skills are invited to the second annual Inclusion On Ice – a free public skating occasion slated Sunday at Wheeling Park Ice Rink.
The occasion will embrace an exhibition sled hockey sport from midday to 1 p.m. that includes the Mighty Pens Sled Hockey crew going through off towards the Wheeling Nailers and Wheeling Lightningbirds.
Following the sport is public skating from 1-3 p.m. Different actions will embrace a sensory room, inflatables, refreshments, face portray, a photograph sales space and extra.
“We’re very excited to prepare an occasion with Easterseals and the Wheeling Nailers that promotes inclusion,” Angie Wooden, Augusta Levy Studying Middle government director, stated. “This free occasion is a chance for us to provide again to our group that has been so supportive of our heart and its mission.”
Betsy Bethel-McFarland, advertising and marketing director for Easterseals, stated everyone seems to be welcome to take part. She thanked the occasion’s sponsors, whose help allowed the occasion to be free to the general public.
picture by: Photograph offered
She famous the primary yr about 125 folks attended, and this yr they’re anticipating at the least 200 to point out up.
“Ice skating and hockey are actions that kids with disabilities could imagine are past the realm of chance for them,” Bethel-McFarland stated. “However organizations resembling ours exist to assist folks with disabilities of any form attain their fullest potential.
“Possibly Inclusion On Ice is only a enjoyable time, bringing folks with disabilities pleasure and surprise and permitting them to really feel seen and included,” she added. “Or perhaps one in every of them will be part of a crew just like the Mighty Pens sometime. It’s our job as a caring group to maintain providing these alternatives.”
Nailers spokesman D.J. Abisalih described Inclusion On Ice as an “unimaginable occasion” for the Ohio Valley.
“And we’re very lucky that it has change into an annual custom,” he stated.
David George, a neighborhood advocate for folks with disabilities and creator of the e-book “Be Distinctive, Be You & Stay,” developed the concept of the occasion.
“I wish to assist produce one thing that will convey all individuals with particular wants/disabilities collectively interpersonally and have an awesome enjoyable time,” George stated.
The Mighty Pens are in a position to attend this yr, because of the assistance of Wheeling native Sarah Riley whose husband is a Mighty Pens participant. About six gamers will swimsuit up and take the ice towards the Nailers and Lightningbirds, who additionally can be utilizing sleds.
Based on their web site, https://penguinssledhockey.org/, “Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey is a enjoyable, therapeutic and aggressive program for bodily disabled kids and adults.
“We intention to develop character, sportsmanship and bodily health – whereas selling and inspiring each instructional and cultural experiences.”
The Mighty Pens have a number of groups for the novice, juniors, adults and seniors.
“We’re grateful to the Mighty Pens for taking the effort and time to come back to our occasion. We’re actually wanting ahead to seeing their athleticism and to seeing how the professionals do towards them,” Bethel-McFarland stated.
Throughout the public skate, the hockey gamers can be out there to assist get everybody on the ice, whether or not that entails tying skates, pushing wheelchairs or offering encouragement.
“Final yr, it was extraordinarily particular to look at how our gamers interacted with all the skaters, particularly those that had been on the ice for the very first time.
“It means the world to us to have the ability to assist give folks this chance that they don’t usually get to take pleasure in every day,” Abisalih stated.
Jessica Osmianski, director of improvement and communications for Augusta Levy Studying Middle, stated the occasion is vital due to the expertise it offers for kids and adults. The actual fact they’ll do it with their family and friends can also be particular.
“One other characteristic that we now have is a sensory room so if our college students or anybody is feeling overwhelmed and must take a break from skating or hockey, they’ll have that as an possibility,” she added.
Osmianski stated final yr’s occasion was an enormous hit with Augusta Levy purchasers.
“Our college students liked it. They’d a blast,” she stated.
Osmianski stated she would encourage everybody to take part within the occasion. She famous the exhibition sport goes to be “superior.”
“The objective of the occasion is inclusion and permitting our college students and anybody with a incapacity to really feel a reference to their group. There actually can be one thing for everybody,” she stated.
Osmianski stated she believes many sports activities may very well be made inclusive when you’ve gotten organizations like Easterseals and ALLC collaborating
“The objective from the start was to supply a free occasion that each one members of the group may come collectively and revel in,” she stated. “Hockey has been the best to get going due to the dedication to the group the Nailers have.
“D.J. has been nice to work with and actually made the scrimmage sport a actuality.”
This yr’s title sponsor is J.B. Chambers Memorial Basis, which is supporting the occasion in honor of the late Dr. Thomas Thomas. Thomas was a longtime Chambers Basis chairman and supported such initiatives because the I-470 Sports activities Complicated, the Miracle League, the YMCA and the Wheeling Park ice rink.
“Dr. Thomas led the Chambers Basis for over 40 years, at all times discovering new methods to assist enhance the lives of kids in our group,” Brian Joseph, basis chairman, stated.
“His household selected Easterseals as a beneficiary of memorial contributions, so sponsoring the Inclusion on Ice is an effective way for us to help a beautiful trigger and honor him.”
Different main sponsors embrace Wheeling Park, Encova Basis, WesBanco, the Metropolis of Wheeling, Western Reserve Orthotics and Prosthetics, and Regional Financial Growth Partnership.
For extra info, go to the Inclusion on Ice occasion web page on Fb; name Easterseals at 304-242-1390; or name Augusta Levy Studying Middle at 304-242-6722.
“As a corporation, we’re so honored to be working with so many nice group companions to make this occasion occur,” Osmianski stated. “We’re wanting ahead to Inclusion on Ice and sit up for seeing everybody there.”