What is TRAIN?
Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) held its first ever TRAIN (Testing Recreational Activities and Improving Nutrition) event on Tuesday, July 16, at Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village. TRAIN is a new program being launched by Special Olympics International (SOI) with the support of Finish Line. The TRAIN program is designed to be a fun way for athletes to test their physical skills, discover new sports to play and learn about exercise and nutrition.
SOILL selected Stevenson Elementary School in District 54 as the first school to pilot this event because of its long history of Special Olympics involvement and its willingness to try out new programs.
Benefits of TRAIN
District 54 Special Olympics Coordinator Dave Luzwick has been involved in Special Olympics for more than six years. Currently all 27 schools from District 54 participate in Special Olympics. Luzwick feels the TRAIN program is a great addition. “I’m lucky to have the best job,” said Luzwick and he sees the benefits in the TRAIN program. “There is not enough focus on nutrition so it is good to teach this and it is a good tool for assessing kids for sports.”
“TRAIN is a great addition to our school’s curriculum and coaches and parents will appreciate the sport suggestions. It gives both the lower- and higher-functioning athletes a program they can participate in during the summer.”
Special Education teacher Kelly O’Reilly also sees the benefits. “It’s a great program and it could be a useful tool to help measure progress and regression in skills. It could be useful during the school year in conjunction with P.E.”
The TRAIN event allowed 32 Young Athletes to participate and they have already received valuable information from the SNAPPER computer program which compiles results from the each of the 13 stations. The athletes also take home a nutritional placemat and home training kit to help them continue learning and to encourage them to practice good nutrition.
Finish Line Partnership
Special Olympics Illinois first heard about the TRAIN program at the 2012 SOI National Conference in Indianapolis and was selected as one of the pilot programs. Finish Line is helping SOI expand the program thanks to a $35,000 grant for this year and a $5,000 grant for next year.
Future of TRAIN
Special Olympics Illinois plans to continue holding TRAIN events with a few events in the planning stages for 2013 in Chicago. The hope is to eventually grow the TRAIN program throughout the state in future years.
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