Centre d'intégration à la vie active (CIVA)
Youth with disabilities have their entire lives ahead of them, but when their school careers end, they can often find that many doors are closed.
To put an end to this reality and provide “a springboard to an active life,” the C.I.V.A. runs sports activities specifically for youth with physical disabilities. This is the only integration program of its kind in Greater Montreal.
The purpose is to allow these youth to create a network, set goals, experience success, and become aware of their potential. The ultimate goal is to help them maintain or develop their self-esteem and take their rightful place in society.
Some go on to play their sport competitively, even on the international stage.
Everything started 15 years ago, when the C.I.V.A. started its first wheelchair basketball classes. They then added “power soccer ,” which is played on motorized wheelchairs, along with boccia, which is similar to petanque. Boccia is the only Paralympic sport created specifically for people with major mobility limitations.
Today, 70 athletes are pushing their limits in one of these three sports at the C.I.V.A., where an army of coaches and other volunteers help them reach their goals.
The participants feel the benefits in every aspect of their lives, such as perseverance, personal excellence, mutual support, and discipline. They can also define themselves in another way besides their disability. Some even become more independent—and therefore less dependent on others—in their daily lives.
Centraide of Greater Montreal has been supporting the Centre d’intégration à la vie active (C.I.V.A.) since 1972.
Centre d'intégration à la vie active (CIVA) is the winner of the Solidaires Empowerment 2016 for its Youth Part.