DALLAS, TX - AUGUST 8th 2014 Congressman Pete Sessions was a featured speaker at a check presentation at the Park Cities Family YMCA. The event also celebrated the spirit of community collaboration and honored the YMCA’s partnership with three other nonprofit organizations: Ability Connection Texas (ACT), The Rise School of Dallas and Connecting Point of Park Cities.
Ability Connection Texas (ACT) was honored for its adaptive aquatics program. From its beginnings in 1953 as a sheltered workshop for adults with cerebral palsy, Ability Connection has become a four-state nonprofit health agency serving people with all types of physical and intellectual disabilities. Children enrolled in Ability Connection’s Early Childhood Development and Education Pre-School participate twice weekly in the Park Cities YMCA’s swimming program which was launched three years ago through the financial support of Wells Fargo.
The adaptive aquatics program includes instruction on how to float independently and with a device, how to control breathing, kicking, basic paddling, front crawl, back stroke and jumping or diving into the pool. Children also receive special attention and instruction that may help develop competency in the water as well as improve overall coordination, speech and language, range of movement, social and attending behaviors.
Bill Knudsen, ACT President and CEO, credits participation in the swimming program with significant improvements in mobility, flexibility and balance. “Adaptive aquatics in conjunction with the other therapies we offer, speech, physical and occupational, has enabled some children to go from walking with walkers to walking unassisted,” he said. “Swimming is an enriching activity that is eagerly anticipated each week.”
Ches Hudel, one of the YMCA instructors, has dedicated much of her life to helping children with mental and physical challenges learn to swim. It began when she volunteered as a college student to help a child with cerebral palsy learn to swim. Now 83 years of age, Ms. Hudel teaches swimming to more than 40 adaptive aquatics students at the Park Cities YMCA.
The Rise School is a nonprofit organization providing high quality early childhood education services to children with developmental disabilities as well as children without disabilities. Connecting Point of Park Cities is a day program for adults with special needs who have aged out of local school district programs. Both organizations are soon to utilize the Park Cities YMCA facilities.
Wells Fargo is a provider of banking, mortgage, investing, credit card, insurance and consumer and commercial financial services. The company supports communities through grants, financial education, environmental stewardship, and volunteerism. In 2013, Wells Fargo contributed $275.5 million to 18,500 nonprofits throughout the United States and its team members volunteered 1.69 million hours to schools, charitable organizations and other nonprofit organizations.