LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A group of students and faculty from the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development is heading to Toronto this week to work as volunteers at the 2015 Parapan American Games, one of the world’s largest sporting events for athletes with a disability. The games follow the Pan American Games.
Thirteen students and four professors will be in Toronto Aug. 4-16 to work mainly in the game’s Wheelchair Basketball and Para Football competition. The trip is part of the college’s International Learning program and the students will earn college credit for their experience.
Oscar Aliaga, who heads the international learning program for the college, said students and faculty took part in a detailed application process and were required to participate in intensive training prior to serving at the Parapan Am games.
“The training started over six months ago with the oversight of the Pan American Games Organizing Committee,” said Aliaga. “In addition to online courses, the group also volunteered at the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship that was held in Louisville this past April. They are extremely well prepared.”
All of the faculty and students in the Toronto-bound group are part of the college’s Health and Sport Sciences Department.
“Over the years, we’ve worked at several international sporting events hosted in Louisville but this is the first time we’ve organized a study abroad program for our students,” said Professor Anita Moorman, one of the faculty members going on the trip. “This is a great way for our students to immerse themselves in a learning experience that has academic, cultural and community service elements and to gain a better understanding of an elite disability sport competition. The Parapan Am Games are a precursor to the Paralympics and will feature some outstanding athletes.”
Mary Hums, a CEHD professor who has been a longtime advocate for inclusiveness and equal opportunity in sports, also will volunteer at the Parapan Am Games. Hums’ work for equality in sports has earned national recognition, most recently at a July 20 meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.