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Anything is Possible

How the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program turned a life around proving it is about far more than just sports

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Sarah has also already signed up to be a Harbers Centre volunteer building host. "She will be earning a Whistler-Blackcomb season's pass as part of her volunteer commitment," says Walker.

"We worked with Whistler Blackcomb on the placement, as we wanted to increase the volunteer opportunities for Sarah and "The Gang." Her new position will continue to build on her vocational training and develop her leadership skills. "The Gang" will be using the Jeff Harbers Adaptive Sports Centre for their race program training. This will include doing video analysis and some dryland components with their coach. The equipment maintenance room will also act as a tuning centre for them to work on their own ski equipment."

The Need for Support

After leaving high school, young people like Sarah find themselves heavily dependent on family members. In school there is a support system, which includes aid workers and counsellors, but once they graduate some feel the support and structure falls away. Sarah had the same aid worker for eight years, from kindergarten to high school, and a number of other aid givers through high school — but suddenly they were gone. Not only was this hard for Sarah but obviously daunting to take on as a parent. Whistler is still developing the support system these young people need in order to positively contribute to the community they live in. Jill and Greg would like to see more employment support, life skill training, and programs for assisted-housing being considered in Whistler.

"Like everyone else they don't want to live with their parents forever, they want to be with their friends and experience the world around them," says Jill. "They have career aspirations and dreams."

She goes on to explain that even though she is a part of an educated group of parents they have come up against many brick walls when pushing for extra services. Government bodies turned to for support, funding, and advice are constantly shifting making it difficult to find the right resources and available funds. The processes were also frustratingly slow. Parents of three children, Jill and Greg hold down full time jobs whilst trying their best to research what they can do for Sarah. "It was suggested that we should take Sarah to Squamish to get the employment and life skill training," says Greg. "But how was she going to get there?

"She was too young for the bus, which didn't stop anywhere near the facility, it was an unrealistic solution. Anyway, Whistler is her home."

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