The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, the private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corporation, awarded a $25,000 grant to Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA) on June 21. DS/USA was among 92 grantees to whom Caremark awarded more than $4.2 million to help children with disabilities and the uninsured. DS/USA will use the Caremark grant to support Mentoring for Success, a national youth-sports mentoring and inclusion program conducted by DS/USA in partnership with 21 of its local community chapters in 13 states.
“This CVS Caremark Charitable Trust grant enables our organization to create opportunities for hundreds of youth with disabilities that encourage them to lead healthier lives through sports” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DS/USA and a disabled Vietnam veteran.
As part of the funded programs, an accessible ropes training course was held at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Sunday, June 21. Instructors from the university’s outdoor-recreation department, as well as staff from local rehabilitation hospitals and parks and recreation groups, were trained to accommodate youth with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs, in ropes courses. Adults and children with disabilities, including Sgt. Ryan Newell, who lost both legs while serving in Iraq, and his 11-year-old son, were on hand to test the course and trainers.
Through the Caremark grant, DS/USA also donated the adaptive equipment for the university to use in its ropes course. According to DS/USA, the university has agreed to make its ropes course available for use by children and others with disabilities in the local community.
DS/USA stated that the Mentoring for Success program provides youth with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports and recreation activities in their own communities. The program recruits and trains active adults to mentor and encourage youth with disabilities to participate and excel in sports. In addition, DS/USA works with local community parks-and-recreation departments and other local organizations to train instructors and provide adaptive equipment necessary to make their programs accessible, thus promoting inclusive activities in the community.
“In today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever to support organizations that can have a positive impact on children with disabilities and their families,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, vice president of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. “The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust selected Disabled Sports USA because its programming aligns with our mission to promote inclusion, increase access to medical therapies, and improve academic performance of children with disabilities.”