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Franciscan Hospital for Children Adaptive Skating Program
wins grant from Bruins Foundation
Franciscan Hospital for Children was named the beneficiary of a $20,000 grant from the Boston Bruins Foundation that will go toward the hospital’s Adaptive Skating Program. The Hospital received one of the largest allocations of funds from the Foundation, whose mission is to assist charitable organizations demonstrating a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life for children throughout New England.
“Every Christmas, the Players deliver hundreds of toys to the kids, and it’s the highlight of our holiday. We all really enjoy visiting with patients at the hospital, and we’re thrilled to be able to support this innovative, valuable therapy program,” said Bob Sweeney, Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation.
For more than 5 years, the Bruins have been supporters of the Hospital bringing players to visit and deliver toys to the children each holiday season. The team also helped renovate what was previously a rooftop to become a Solarium that gives children who can’t get outside the opportunity to play in a bright and inviting room year round. Their most recent donation to the Adaptive Skating Program further exemplifies the Foundation’s long term commitment to the Hospital.
Franciscan Hospital for Children provides rehabilitation services for children with a variety of disabilities. The Adaptive Skating Program, also supported by the Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, is a unique program that enables children of all abilities to participate in an active therapeutic and recreational program. This program was developed by a physical therapist and utilizes specialized equipment such as ice sleds and ice skating walkers. The Hospital’s Research Center has critically evaluated the program’s outcomes including feasibility, safety, participant satisfaction and children’s skating skills.
"Children usually learn how to skate by taking group lessons at a local community rink but children with disabilities may have physical challenges such as decreased muscle strength, endurance, balance, and coordination which make it difficult to learn a new sport. Our program is unique because we address the needs of each child by utilizing a variety of teaching styles and providing individualized physical assistance and specialized equipment so that children are able to experience the fun of skating in a safe and supportive environment. It is amazing to see how well the children move on the ice after just 10 weeks. Plus, children gain more than just skating skills. They also experience opportunities to socialize and make friends with other children and their coaches," said Maria Fragala-Pinkham, Physical Therapist at Franciscan Hospital for Children and Ice Skating Program Director.
The Adaptive Skating Program, now in its fourth year, runs for 10 weeks in the fall at the Simoni Rink in Cambridge. The program provides children and youth, ages 5-18 years with developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in a weekly group lesson led by professional ice skating instructors. Local college students studying physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing and other-related fields volunteer as skating coaches and provide individualized assistance to the children. Past participants have demonstrated improved skating skills and parents have reported increased leg strength, endurance, balance, and self-esteem.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Boston Bruins Foundation through their gracious donation and continued support. Their regular visits and generosity have had a direct impact on the quality of care our children receive. We’re so pleased to partner with the Bruins and look forward to growing our relationship in the future,” said Steven Snyder, Chief Development Officer at Franciscan Hospital for Children.