October 14, 2015
Busy Bodies boosts kids outlook
Jenna was once reluctant to take part in physical activities with other kids. With a hearing impairment as well as difficulties with motor skills, she was shy and self-conscious about the differences between herself and other children.
But thanks to Busy Bodies, the 12-year-old is noticeably more active and more confident and her mother, Nivine, is overjoyed when her daughter lights up at the very mention of activities like wheelchair basketball.
Funded in part by Jays Care Foundation, Busy Bodies focuses on educating and motivating children with disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area in order to encourage physical activity and healthy eating.
Recreation specialists with experience in adapting activities for kids with disabilities lead hands-on activity sessions including adapted sports, dance, yoga and healthy cooking programs. Busy Bodies uses fun, fitness and learning to motivate children with disabilities to lead healthy, active lives.
Community outings and “home challenges” also give kids the chance to apply Busy Bodies concepts outside of the program, providing them with a foundation of knowledge to make healthy living a part of their daily lives.
“While health promotion programs for children are available in many communities, the barriers faced by youth with disabilities such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and a lack of accessible recreational facilities often prevent their participation,” said Kristen English, a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and a Busy Bodies coordinator. “Removing these barriers to support healthy living habits is essential for growth and development, self-confidence, and overall well-being,” she added.
Kristen has seen first-hand the amazing impact Busy Bodies can have. She has seen children regain their sense of enjoyment and excitement for food through creative health cooking sessions. She has watched parents beam with pride watching their child laugh and make friends in this social environment.
“But the most noticeable impact Busy Bodies has had on its participants is the improved sense of confidence they exhibit after completing the program and reaching their personal goals,” she said.
Nivine can attest to that. She watched her daughter’s self-esteem skyrocket. “Busy Bodies is outstanding,” she said. “It allows children of varying abilities to feel proud and confident; that they too can participate and learn to become more aware of the fun involved in becoming healthy youths.”
“All Jenna ever wants is to have friends and be accepted for who she is…Busy Bodies and Holland Bloorview allowed this to become a reality.”
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Your gift will create a world of possibility for kids with disabilities - kids just like Jenna.