Healthful Living & Fitness Education Program Partners with Special Olympics

Healthful Living & Fitness Education Program Partners with Special Olympics

2/21 – The Healthful Living & Fitness Education (HLFE) program is partnering with the Special Olympics to provide virtual adapted physical and health education programming for athletes.

The HLFE program is combining UNCW's "I Can Do It" adapted physical activity program with Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning’s (ETEAL) three-year strategic initiative, the Portable Nutrition Lab. ETEAL is a UNCW initiative that supports experiential and applied learning experiences through professional development and internal funding opportunities.

More than 100 individuals with disabilities receive high-quality adapted physical and health education from CHHS students on Tuesdays and Thursdays through a Zoom fitness class. Each virtual session focuses on different offerings, such as strength training, range of motion, dance, sport skills and nutrition.

Since the “I Can Do It” program is offered virtually this year, HLFE Lecturer Jordan Weber suggested combining the Portable Nutrition Lab with “I Can Do It” to provide both nutrition and fitness programming.

“We firmly believe that food and physical activity are medicine,” Weber says. “Teaching others to fuel their brains and their bodies, and to be their healthiest, happiest selves is our passion. UNCW and ETEAL empower us to do this work.”

Many individuals with disabilities may not have any other access to adapted physical activity programming. The combined programming encourages them to move and be active, while also learning nutrition skills, such as how to differentiate between nutritious snack choices and processed, obesogenic foods that cause obesity.

“The combination of these programs is special to Jordan and me,” HLFE Program Coordinator Amelia (Kit) Huelskamp says. “We have been fortunate to be able to put together what we love into something that benefits both our students and also community members.”