Clackamas Community College hosts event for disability community

Members of the Portland Wheel blazers play basketball in Randall Hall. This took place at a school event for the disability community.

By Gabriella Vigil

Sports Editor

 

Clackamas Community College’s two-part basketball and networking event from 6 p.m to 9 p.m on April 5 in Randall Hall and Gregory Forum was full of resources for allies and athletes.

The Portland Wheelblazers rolled through CCC to play ball to open the event. 

The Portland Wheelblazers are members of the NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association). The NWBA has 225 teams across the nation, including The Portland Wheelblazers

“This is the first time we are able to host this event,” said Shanna Schacher, CCC grant  coordinator. “It’s new and is because of a grant that the college has called Inclusive Career Advancement Program (ICAP).” 

The ICAP program partners with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to provide support for students experiencing disabilities to reach their education and career goals. 

The second half of the event was a “Nothing but Networking” event held in Gregory Forum. 

The event consisted of several tables, including Adaptive Sports Northwest, Ride Connection, Autism Society of Oregon, DHS Vocational Rehabilitation, Thrive Oregon, Community Vision, Portland Parks and Recreation, Commission for the Blind, Eastside Timbers Soccer Club, and a CCC Bond Proposal table. 

TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based program offered through local US Youth Soccer-affiliated clubs for players with disabilities.

There are two programs in the local area; Eastside Timbers Soccer Club and Thorns TOPSoccer. Both of these teams offer year-round programming for players with disabilities at Troutdale Indoor Soccer and Oregon Premier Futsal in Clackamas. 

“Across these two locations, we have more than 70 unique players with different disabilities,” said Joslynn Bigelow, chair for OYSA TOPSoccer. “Our programs are inclusive of all races, gender identities, and disability impacts. We serve athletes aged four to adulthood, with no age cap.” 

Bigelow began volunteering with TOPSoccer at the age 11, and over 17 years later is still with the industry. 

“I don’t consider my work rewarding. In a sense, I actually find my work frustrating in that these services we provide to people with disabilities should already exist and creating access for them should not be as hard as it can be,” said Bigelow. “Adaptive sport and accessible programming at large shouldn’t be a reward, but a right.” 

Adaptive Sports Northwest offers a variety of sports including sit volleyball, power soccer, goalball, wheelchair basketball, archery, pickleball, cycling, track & field, swim, and wheelchair rugby with the Portland Pounders

“Adaptive Sports Northwest provides adaptive sports to athletes with physical and visual disabilities,” said Sami Faile, programs and operations worker at ASNW. 

The Portland Wheel Blazers, along with the Junior Wheel Blazers and the Prep Junior Blazers are three wheelchair basketball teams available to join with Adaptive Sports Northwest. 

“Creating opportunities for people to participate in sport and recreation is what I love doing.” Faile said, “It brings me joy to watch individuals discover a new sport or participate in an activity they never thought they would be able to take part in.” I find it rewarding to be a part of a team that seeks to break down barriers and promote healthier lifestyles through sport and recreation for people with physical and visual impairments.” 

JD Duran, a wheelchair rugby athlete, wanted to reach his goal of racing in a marathon, training vigorously.

“At the time, I was training at least two times a day, 6 days a week.” said the ASNW social media manager, “Training included lots of miles in my racing chair. I was going on runs at least 10-20 miles. I had to do that a few times in order to acclimate my body and get used to being in the racing chair for that long.” 

“Thankfully, I completed the marathon in about 3 hours and 20 minutes,” said Duran. “I was happy that I achieved my goal.” 

“Whether I’m on a sports team or just being a part of the organization, it just feels good to be a part of a community,” said Duran. “I get to be in groups of like life journey people who’ve been through similar circumstances of myself having a physical disability.” 

Adaptive Sports Northwest is currently preparing for their largest Get In the Game annual fundraiser on May 4 at Mittleman Jewish Community Center from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

“The future is bright for Adaptive Sports Northwest. We have some exciting partnerships and collaborations going on with businesses in the area,” said Faile. “We are actively growing and the vision of an ASNW community space that houses our equipment, our administration and a portion of our programming is the evolution that is on the horizon for Adaptive Sports Northwest.”

To volunteer or donate to the Portland Wheelblazers, visit https://wheelblazers.com/donations/nwba-nationals-fundraiser/ 

If you have a disability and interested in playing or looking to volunteer at OYSA TOPSoccer, contact topsoccer@eastsidetimbers.com 

To purchase tickets or donate to the Get In The Game fundraiser event with Adaptive Sports Northwest, visit https://asnw.ejoinme.org/gitg2024-register 

To learn about more resources in the community, visit the Disability Resource Center on the Oregon City campus or visit https://www.clackamas.edu/campus-life/student-services/disability-resource-center

Gabriella Vigil

Gabriella Vigil is a writer and photographer for the Clackamas Print. She started at Clackamas Community College in fall of 2022 and is currently working towards her Associates of Science (transfer degree). In her free time, she enjoys shopping and cheering on her favorite NFL Team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

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