ABLE Youth is the only organization of its kind, located in Nashville, Tennessee, to provide opportunities for youth, ages 3-12 and young adults 13-22, who use wheelchairs in learning independence, skills and sports. Above all else, we strive for our participants to learn the importance of complete independence in all activities of daily living, which in turn, leads to self-esteem, motivation and a desire to excel. The children are taught The ABLE Way – to Adapt, Believe, Love and Enjoy life.
Super Sports Saturdays, held once a month at the Williamson County Recreation Center, is the cornerstone of ABLE Youth. Our youngest preschool Tiny Tots start with learning wheelchair mobility, transfers, how to dress, bathe and perform other self-care routines. Older children are introduced to advanced chair skills, problem-solving skills as it pertains to independent living, and driving a car with hand controls.
Super Sports Saturdays also introduces children to sports, such as basketball, tennis, rugby and wheelchair racing. Not all of our participants are full-time wheelchair users, but all have lower limb disabilities that make instruction in independence skills beneficial and effect their participation in community sports leagues.
Older children are also invited to our yearly weekend-long Independence Camp and to meet for one-on-one home and community based independence training.
As a child shows signs of independence, he/she is invited to join our sports teams and instructional clinic opportunities. Through the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (nwba.org), ABLE Youth fields a Prep and Varsity wheelchair basketball team that practices from August through April and travels to tournaments throughout the region. ABLE Youth also has a wheelchair track program that participates in local races and regional meets. Other sports opportunities include tennis, waterskiing, snow skiing and golf.
ABLE Youth promotes not only physical fitness, but also emotional and mental well-being and self-esteem. All children are not going to be competitive in sports, but all ABLE Youth participants are athletes in a bigger and more important game, the game of life. The children are given instruction on life skills to improve their odds of success as they grow into adulthood. Our goal is for all participants to graduate high school and to go on to college or to enter the workforce, while living as independently as possible.
The ABLE Youth program has impacted the lives of over 200 children and families since we began in 1997, and currently serves 30-35 children helping to improve their quality of life. We pride ourselves on showing the children and parents just what CAN be accomplished from a wheelchair.
ABLE Youth, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and is funded through private contributions, corporate gifts, grants and events.