It’s a Great Day at Harison Heights’ Adaptive Recreation Program

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the five men at lanes 23 and 24 inside Masters Lanes in Augusta, it’s an average afternoon at the bowling alley.

They tease each other mercilessly when someone’s bowling ball rolls in the gutter—and are the loudest to cheer when one of them has nice contact with the pins. The only difference? The five men are participating in Harison Heights’ Adaptive Recreation Program—aimed at providing community activities and valuable socialization for men and women with disabilities throughout the CSRA.

Bowling is just one of the program’s many activities—which run Monday through Friday. “We go out to eat, we go to the movies, we play bingo,” explained Jimmy, who has had mobility issues since birth due to cerebral palsy. He has participated in the program for several years. “We have fun together.”

“It’s a great thing to get to do,” shared Mauricio, a paraplegic who was fresh off a nice spare. “You get to meet different people, see different places—get out of the routine.”

According to Jeanette Lewis, a certified nursing assistant who is also the adaptive recreation program coordinator, that socialization is the primary benefit of the day program. “Even though they have disabilities, they’re still just like everyone else,” she said. “They can still live their life, they can still have fun—and activities like the adaptive recreation program give them something to look forward to.”

Among his favorite activities, Mauricio counts dining out, going to the park and bowling (despite his protestations, Lewis shared that he’s usually the top scorer), and said that without the program, he often feels stressed out, sitting alone in his apartment. “It’s a common problem,” said Lewis. “Without socialization, people with disabilities can suffer from depression. Getting out and enjoying the company of others helps prevent that.”

Along with a regular schedule of weekly activities, the adaptive recreation program also offers day and overnight excursions to sites such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, and Myrtle Beach. Certified nursing assistants trained in first aid and CPR accompany participants on all excursions and activities.

“Please join us,” said Jimmy with his trademark grin. “It’s a wonderful way to get to interact with other people.”

To find out more, call 706-733-9557 or visit www.waltonfoundation.net/recreation.