“I’m going to do that again!” said Jake triumphantly to his Mom, Janis. That day, Jake stood up in a kayak, holding his balance all on his own, out on the water in Surrey, BC. But Jake often has trouble recalling memories, so the fact that he could retell this story to his Mom later that day was an equally huge deal. “That accomplishment, it meant the world to him,” Janis describes. It also meant the world to Janis, to see Jake glow with such pride.
Eight-year-old Jake is a sweet boy who loves to be active, but Janis describes how it can be challenging to find programs and activities that are suitable for him. Jake doesn’t learn the same way as other children because of his ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and high anxiety.
Two summers ago, Janis discovered Power for All’s Adaptive Kayaking and Paddle Boarding program. For the second year in a row, Jake has spent his summer out on the water, developing his strength, motor planning, and social skills, all with one-on-one support.
Removing barriers to a healthy and happy lifestyle for all kids.
As part of the program, Power for All’s Director, Alex, and her team, complete an assessment for each child and then set goals in partnership with parents for the duration of the program. Jake’s goals included building up strength, balance, and coordination through kayaking.
At the beginning of the summer, Jake could paddle 20 strokes total, but by the end, he could paddle for almost 30 minutes straight. He could hold his balance, getting in and out of the kayak all on his own, and wanted to participate and interact with the other kids.
Being on the water had such a calming presence for Jake, helping to reduce his anxiety and minimize sensory overload, creating an ideal setting to learn life-changing skills. And on top of everything he accomplished physically this summer, Jake learned to believe in himself. “‘I can’t’ in his vocabulary became ‘I will’ and ‘I can do this,’” Janis explains.
Alex, who is also an occupational therapist, describes, “The kids don’t even realize it’s therapy, because it’s so fun. But they accomplish so much and see tons of amazing outcomes.”
More opportunities for more families – all year.
The program has been such a great success over the last nine years, parents want even more opportunities for their children to grow and be physically active – even in the fall and winter. Support from GoodLife Kids Foundation will allow Power for All to offer the program during the winter at an indoor pool. This means more children like Jake will have the opportunity to learn and flourish in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, all because of supporters like you.
In addition to so many personal victories for Jake, it is his new-found pride that is so exciting for his family. “It’s been so positive. Being part of something, a group, that everyone is accepted in no matter what package they come in,” Janis says. “I wish every person that fundraises and donates would have the chance just to see these kids and their faces, and really feel that energy. It’s a big deal and means a lot to our entire family.”