Diana Cutaia, the revolutionary former athletic director of Wheelock College and director of Coaching Peace, spoke at our annual Extending our Reach Forum. She was joined by Josh Kraft, the Nichols President and CEO of the Boston Boys and Girls Club.
They spoke about the need to sustain quality programming for people living with challenges. They also highlighted programs and partnerships which truly work. Diana made a great analogy near the end of our Forum that hit home for all of us.
She asked us to envision ourselves as parents arriving at school with our young children for the first day of Kindergarten. "Imagine if you will..." she proposed, "...that someone comes in and says 'Sorry, we don't have a teacher for this class.' Then imagine, as you all looked at each other wondering what to do, that some parent came forward. What if he said 'Well, I'm told I'm great with kids and I certainly enjoy working with kids. I'll teach the class.'" Diana suggested, none of us would allow him to teach our children. But often, we allow people of few qualifications to coach our kids and she further suggested, at times to work with people living with challenges.
Coaches can be the most influential people in our lives. In addition to coaches, I'd add aides and trainers can likewise be the most important people in the lives of people living with challenges. Sadly, we don't often see quality and competency in this field. An important tenet of our Forum has always been to affirm that we are all compelling. We all, regardless of challenges, can be remarkable. We all deserve the very best in services and personnel to challenge us throughout life so we may grow and succeed.
At AccesSport, our trainers are incredible people who are charged with finding the remarkable in every minute of every session we conduct. They are to be indefatigable and enthusiastic about the athletes we train and the possibilities for higher function and esteem. Every one of our trainers must volunteer one full year or participate in an intensive summer season before being considered as an AccesSport employee. This work is a vocation of the heart for everyone here. The commitment and quality of athletes, volunteers, administrative staff, board, and trainers is more than impressive. This is a culture of great commitment, hope, and skills. The qualities that all people, especially those living with challenges and disabilities, deserve. Creating and sustaining great programming and innovative regimens and equipment is what we do. The work requires a high ratio of trainers to athletes. We don't settle for less and hope you'll help us to continue at this high level. We invite you to be a part.