Isolation is a huge factor leading to depression, hospitalization, lack of confidence and decreased quality of life. People with disabilities and chronic conditions have many barriers to participating in nature and the community, and this project brings together a group dedicated to changing their own lives and influencing others. This group program provides education, guidance in health and wellness, and real world outings to build confidence, skills and independence. It is life changing because it breaks the cycle of isolation, builds confidence and facilitates peer support through tangible experiences.
There are three critical ways our program improves quality of life: ending isolation, teaching movement skills and building confidence. This program is critical to bridge the gap between traditional rehabilitation settings and the great outdoors. Our participants come to us because they want to improve their quality of life and are looking for training and support to make that happen. Ultimately it is their hard work and determination that propel them into a new season of adventure and independence.
The seed grant allowed us to launch a pilot project to take small groups into the outdoors and promote wellness and fitness. We were able to involve community members in the development of our program from the very start, and our participants have helped shape the direction of the organization through their involvement and feedback. Without that seed grant we would not have had sufficient funding to launch those pilot outings.
This award will support a more in-depth program that will have lasting impact in the lives of our participants. It will accomplish far more than a single day of activities, because we can now offer an 8-month long adventure program that offers education, skills training, fitness classes, cultural experiences and outdoor trips. We are now able to provide a more comprehensive program that will truly change lives for the long term.