June 18, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust supports 'I Can Do It' program
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Center on Disability and Health has received a $160,000 grant from the Pittsburgh-based Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust to fund student-faculty research on a center program for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" program, led by SRU students in the award-winning Adapted Physical Activity Program, places students in leadership roles teaching physical activity programs for those with intellectual disabilities.
"With this grant, we will be able to actually measure the mentoring skills acquired by our students and the physical skills and motor development of individuals with intellectual disabilities who participate in the program," said Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and program coordinator.
"We appreciate the two-year grant from the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust," Arnhold said. "This is the second significant grant for the program in less than six months, showing the support for our mission of improving lives of persons with disabilities."
SRU introduced its "I Can Do It," You Can Do It' program in 2007, modeled after the program launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disability, in 2004.
Students teach weekly exercise and recreation sessions for a population that can be overlooked, Arnhold said. They work one-on-one with clients at the Grove City and Butler YMCAs. Fifty-seven SRU students participated last year.
"We want to validate that our students are implementing the skills they have been taught properly," Arnhold said. "Just as importantly, we also make sure the individuals with intellectual disabilities are also improving in their health and physical activity choices."
SRU is launching a graduate program in adapted physical activity in fall 2008, on the heels of its minor being named the Outstanding Adapted Physical Activity Program of the Year.
Adapted activities teach students how to devise and manage exercise programs for people with disabilities.
SRU's Center on Disability and Health distributes information on physical activity and provides programs to help community members with physical and intellectual disabilities develop healthy lifestyles and reduce health risks associated with obesity.
The Edith L. Trees Charity Trust is a private foundation supporting projects in western Pennsylvania.
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.