The Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) changes the lives of blind and visually impaired youth and adults with sports throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Our athletes develop belief in themselves. Breaking down barriers and isolation, they become an active part of their schools and communities. Experiencing the power of sports, our participants aspire, excel and have fun.
“As a visually impaired person you are often told that you can’t do things. It’s so frustrating. And then you do well in sports, you develop teamwork and do all these things that carry over into the rest of your life.”
Sonja, Goalball player and graduate student, Portland, Oregon
The Challenge: People of all ages who are blind or visually impaired are often left out of sports. Of the nearly 56,000 blind and visually impaired children and youth in the United States, 70 percent do not participate in even a limited physical education program. When their friends are playing sports like baseball, basketball and football, they are isolated on the sidelines. This results in lack of fitness and muscular strength plus limited self-esteem and confidence. They are held back by the lack of opportunities and expectations to keep up with peers in motor skills, physical activities and even socialization.
Our Solution: We change lives by introducing individuals with visual impairments to sports. Once they experience sports and physical activities, our participants have more self-confidence and open up to the possibility that they really can pursue their dreams in both sports and life. Our athletes leave behind sedentary, isolated lives and they gain skills, confidence and joy.
How do we do this? NWABA offers programs in more than 10 sports. By partnering with schools, communities and other programs, we train staff in how to adapt sports for people who have visual impairments and their sighted friends and families. We host sporting events across the Northwest and provide scholarships. Click here to read about our program and sport offerings.
“Since he is really athletic naturally and his buddies now play football, basketball and soccer, this gives him something athletic to do. He is doing wrestling and Goalball. He gets lots of confidence from sports.”
Julie, Mother of 10-year-old who is blind, Snohomish, Washington