In October of 2014, the KidsAbility™ Child Development Centre and the SkateABLE™ adaptive ice skating program was named one of the recipients of the GoodLife Kids Foundation IMPACT Award.

Since SkateABLE™ was first formed in 2013, it has relied heavily on community support in the form of cash donations, and successful grant applications, in order to be able to purchase adaptive ice skating equipment. This equipment allows even the most severely disabled children the opportunity to take part in “stand-up” ice skating. The adaptive equipment (i.e., ice walkers and harnesses) are only manufactured in the United States by one organization. Large amounts of funding are required each season to obtain the amount of equipment required to sufficiently equip the skaters wishing to take part in the SkateABLE™ program.

After receiving the IMPACT Award, SkateABLE™ started looking into ways of having the equipment made locally. First, partnering with a manufacturing company in Cambridge, Ontario, SkateABLE™ now has the capabilities to produce the adaptive ice walkers, in three different models, right here in Ontario.

Secondly, SkateABLE™ partnered with a local industrial sewer who has been contracted to create harnesses that will ensure a superior level of safety for the kids who need extra assistance on the ice. Having access to local manufacturing of the equipment saves the SkateABLE™ organization money, provides sustainability for the program, and creates an amazing opportunity for disabled children.

In addition to creating SkateABLE™’s very own line of adaptive equipment, the IMPACT award has also allowed the organization the opportunity to secure an office/storage space. Having this space available provides a location to meet with skating families in advance of programs starting, allows a space for equipment fittings and program registration, provides a space for leader training, and provides a space for board members to meet regularly. This is a very positive step forward for the organization.

Many other communities in Ontario have contacted SkateABLE™ over the past year to find out how they can adopt the SkateABLE™ program and make the equipment available in their communities. The SkateABLE™ organization is now working on ways to make this happen.

When SkateABLE™ learned that it would be the recipient of the GoodLife IMPACT Awards, the implications this would have on the organization were not completely understood. The IMPACT award has opened new doors and provided opportunities that not would have otherwise been realized at this point in the organization’s growth and development.

A sincere Thank-You on behalf of all the SkateABLE™ board members, coaches, families, and skaters goes out to our partners at KidsAbility™, and to the GoodLife Kids Foundation for creating amazing possibilities for the disabled children in our community!