March 21, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
FNIH says yes to SRU's 'I Can Do It, You Can Do It' program
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Center on Disability and Health has received a $60,000 grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust to continue its "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" mentoring initiative for three more years.
The program, led by SRU's adapted physical activity minor, places SRU students in leadership rolls teaching exercise programs to youths and adults with intellectual disabilities.
SRU introduced the program a year ago, modeled after the "I Can Do It, You Can Do" program launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Disability in 2004.
"Our students teach weekly exercise sessions for a population that can be overlooked when it comes to their fitness and recreational needs," said Robert Arnhold, SRU professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences. "We expect to serve 180 community clients in the coming years because of this grant. Only two other agencies have received similar funding in this national funding initiative."
The program serves children and young adults by providing a variety of physical activities and recreation in one-on-one settings through this mentor-mentee program. Students meet with a client at least once a week at the Grove City or Butler YMCA facilities and other facilities, providing guidance in recreation, exercise and fitness activities.
"Obesity can be a serious problem for those with intellectual challenges, just like it is the general population," Arnhold said. "We've gathered data that also show that most of these people do not really have a regular exercise program or routine in which they're engaged. We're trying to change that."
Fifty-seven SRU students participated in the program over the past year, Arnhold said. All are enrolled University's adapted physical activity minor, which specializes in preparing graduates for careers of service to those who have a disability.
"This program puts our students in community leadership roles, and it dovetails with our adapted physical activity minor because students in that program and committed to improving the health of those with disabilities," said Betsy Kemeny, SRU program coordinator for the campus Center on Disability and Health.
The center distributes information on physical activity and exercise and also provides practical programs to help community members with physical and intellectual disabilities develop health healthy lifestyles and reduce health risks associated with obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes. The program operates out of Strain Behavioral Science Building. More than 250 people benefit from the center services every week.
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.