Plainview, NY – It's empowering to focus on what you can achieve, rather than what you can’t. Confidence comes from victories, big and small.
ACDS, which works with those who have Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities, held its annual Canoe Race at the Baldwin Boat Basin on Tuesday August 14 on Atlantic Avenue near the border of Freeport and Baldwin at 5.
Thirty five people, ages 18 and older, some of whom are residents of ACDS' group homes, and some who live at home with their families and participate in the agency's 5Plus programs, spent six weeks training for the event that is a long-time favorite.
Each team consists of one of ACDS’ special athletes and one volunteer from either the Freeport Police Department, Freeport Electric Company or Endo Electric. Coach Marianne credits this unique programs’ success to the fact that each athlete gets one on one assistance, support and encouragement from the volunteers.
“The program would not be possible without the volunteers,” says Erica Lepurage, Recreation Coordinator for ACDS.
Family and friends are invited to attend and cheer on the athletes at the race. The first place winner of each heat receives a medal. Everyone gets a certificate for participating in the race, even the volunteers.
“The event is a big deal for our special athletes. It gives them a great feeling of accomplishment and pride about what they can do. It's also about fun competition, and working together. They build skills and friendships,” says Lepurage.
ACDS, located in Plainview, NY, is dedicated to providing lifetime resources of exceptional quality, innovation and inclusion for individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities and their families. ACDS has been providing programs and services in and around Long Island for 45 years. ACDS currently serves more than 750 children and adults, providing services that include Early Intervention and preschool special education programs, respite and recreation programs for children, teens and adults, day habilitation services, adult Medicaid service coordination and seven supervised group homes in Nassau County.