UE “AceBuddies” program helps get people with disabilities moving
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Making sure everyone can live a healthy life is the mission of one University of Evansville organization aiming to get their participants up and moving through the AceBuddies Program.
According to a national health organization, adults need to get 2 and a half hours of exercise a week, minimum, to promote a healthy lifestyle. UE physical therapy students are making sure even those with disabilities can stay active too.
“The smiles, that’s what gets you out of bed on a Saturday morning when you’re up early all the time studying that’s really what gets you up is seeing the joy and smiles on the kid’s faces and how hard they work. It’s really awesome," said Arlen Magelitz. Magelitz is a second-year physical therapy student and the exercise leader for the AceBuddies program.
Participants go through themed workouts that can be tailored specifically towards the disabilities of each person.
Magelitz worked as a buddy during his first year with the program. He says it’s different leading the group, but more rewarding as well.
“If you’re one on one with the buddy you get a lot more of that one on one experience with them but when you’re in charge and upfront you get to see that joy on all the kid’s faces and how hard all of them are working," said Magelitz.
“I think it’s really good because a lot of people with disabilities don’t always have opportunities like these so, it’s really good," said one participant named Emily.
“I loved the Disney songs. I loved the Disney movies," said another exerciser named Tess. "It’s fun and active. I meet a lot of cool friends, and I met some basketball players.”
“It puts into perspective why you’re going through the tough studies and everything you’re going through," said Magelitz. "It reminds you of the joy and all the help that you can give to people. It makes it worth it for sure. It just kind of brightens your week.”
Magelitz told me the fall session is wrapping up but they hope to keep growing, adding another session and eventually helping upwards of 60 participants.
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