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 SRU leads national training for 'I Can Do It, You Can Do It' program expansion 



Jan. 29, 2008
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Slippery Rock University leads training for national

'I Can Do It, You Can Do It' program expansion


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's position as a national leader in encouraging physical activity among those with disabilities will enter a new phase Feb. 5-6 when eight universities and agencies from across the country come to The Rock to learn how to replicate the "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" mentorship program that SRU is piloting.

            The federal program partners college students with individuals with disabilities for one-on-one physical activity sessions for eight-week units. Mentors assist their partners in developing programs that are enjoyable and can lead to permanent increases in physical activity and better nutrition habits.

            "We're excited. We have 60 student mentors leading physical activity sessions with 60 mentees, and our program is the national model for the expansion," said Robert Arnhold, SRU professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences.

            Institutions coming to SRU for training include Oregon State University, California State University/Chico, SUNY-Cortland, Tennessee Tech University, North Carolina University-Wilmington, The University of Wisconsin/La Crosse, SPLORE in Salt Lake City and the School District of Miami-Dade County, Fl.

            Faculty and SRU students in the Adapted Physical Activity Program will show the representatives how to develop and conduct "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" programs. 

They will also teach them how to evaluate the workouts and overview the importance of proper nutrition for those with disabilities.

            Attendees will observe SRU's Kids in Action recreation and swimming program for children with autism and a recreation session for adults with intellectual disabilities. Michael Marge, acting director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability, the agency in charge of the program, plans to attend the training as well, Arnhold said.

            Long-term, the I Can Do It program goals are to improve the health of participants, promote weight loss and reduce secondary health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease that experts associate with obesity.

            Arnhold said he and SRU students would emphasize the importance of diligence during the training.

            "Participants need to know that mentoring is key to changing the attitudes and behavior of children with disabilities," he said. "A big part of this is establishing good habits and developing good relationships with these students. Our students are serving as the role models."

          The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability chose SRU to be the charter institution for a national expansion of the program. SRU received a three-year, $850,000 contract from the federal agency for the expansion. 

            Twenty institutions and agencies sought to participate in the training in order to launch their own programs. Through a competitive grant process, eight awardees were chosen for the first round of training.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


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