Organizing structured physical activity programs for underrepresented children and youth

Walter ThompsonChair:  Walter Thompson (USA) - Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Walt Thompson is a tenured Regents’ Professor of Kinesiology and Health (College of Education) with a second academic appointment in the Department of Nutrition (Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions) and the School of Public Health at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Dr. Thompson has published over 125 research-based articles on many different topics and has received over $20 million in funding for his various initiatives. He has authored or has edited 14 books. Because of his personal interest in at-risk kids living in the inner city, he serves as the Executive Director of the After-School All-Stars Atlanta, a comprehensive after school initiative for middle school aged children now in 23 sites with an average daily attendance of 3,000. Children participating in his program are typically those living in poverty. The program meets after school during the school year and for five weeks during the summer. In 2006 Dr. Thompson received the prestigious Georgia State University College of Education Faculty Service Award. That same year his program was selected by the Georgia State University President to receive the “Most Outstanding University Program” award. In 2008, the After-School All-Stars was selected to receive the “Regional Excellence Award” by the Atlanta Civic League and it is the recipient of the 2008 Atlanta Partners for Education A+ Summa Cum Laude Award. In 2009, his program received the celebrated Hosea Williams Award for Community Activism. In 2012, Dr. Thompson received the Georgia State University Exceptional Service Award. Dr. Thompson has been a member of the IPC Sports Science Committee for more than a decade. 

Abstract

In every country around the world there are children either living in poverty or have a physical or intellectual disability that often marginalizes them from the rest of society. No matter the location, from Europe to Asia, from North America to South America, these children often have no place to go after school, on the weekends, or during the summer when there are no formal school programs. Inclusion of children with special needs (economic, physical, intellectual) is the cornerstone to social justice and ultimately inclusion. This symposium focuses on the development, maintenance and sustainability of structured physical activity programs, including sports, for children and youth who are typically marginalized within societies and the global community. These young people are typically in societal minority groups including indigenous populations, the poor, and those with physical and intellectual disabilities. Speakers will talk about each of these disadvantaged children and youth and how they become marginalized within society then offer specific examples of successful programs concentrating on initial program development (including funding), continuation, and preserving future sustainability. These successful programs have been recognized by their peers and by international organizations for their unique approaches to solving a world issue – to help create a generation of people who previously have been out of the mainstream of society. Speakers will offer scientific evidence that these programs work, and work effectively. Using the scientific approach of paired comparisons, children engaged in these programs often exceed their counterparts (peers) in measured parameters of physical and intellectual gains. Speakers will talk about their experiences in North America (Atlanta, Georgia USA), Africa (Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal), and South America (Suriname).

Speakers:

Walter Thompson1.Walter Thompson (USA) - Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Walt Thompson is a tenured Regents’ Professor of Kinesiology and Health (College of Education) with a second academic appointment in the Department of Nutrition (Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions) and the School of Public Health at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Dr. Thompson has published over 125 research-based articles on many different topics and has received over $20 million in funding for his various initiatives. He has authored or has edited 14 books. Because of his personal interest in at-risk kids living in the inner city, he serves as the Executive Director of the After-School All-Stars Atlanta, a comprehensive after school initiative for middle school aged children now in 23 sites with an average daily attendance of 3,000. Children participating in his program are typically those living in poverty. The program meets after school during the school year and for five weeks during the summer. In 2006 Dr. Thompson received the prestigious Georgia State University College of Education Faculty Service Award. That same year his program was selected by the Georgia State University President to receive the “Most Outstanding University Program” award. In 2008, the After-School All-Stars was selected to receive the “Regional Excellence Award” by the Atlanta Civic League and it is the recipient of the 2008 Atlanta Partners for Education A+ Summa Cum Laude Award. In 2009, his program received the celebrated Hosea Williams Award for Community Activism. In 2012, Dr. Thompson received the Georgia State University Exceptional Service Award. Dr. Thompson has been a member of the IPC Sports Science Committee for more than a decade.

Title Presentation: Organizing after school and summer programs for economically disadvantaged children living in the urban environment

Rinske de Jong2.Rinske de Jong (NLD) - Rinske de Jong has a bachelor degree in Human Movement Sciences and a master's degree in Adapted Physical Activity. For 7 years Rinske has been working for the Dutch Olympic and Paralympic Committee involved in the area of Paralympic Talent Recruitment and sports for people with a disability on a grassroots level. Since 2008 Rinske has been a board member of PlayAble, a non-profit social venture designing adapted sport programs and coaches training to promote the rights and abilities of people with a disability through sport. The first projects were started in Kenya and Uganda. Rinske went to Rwanda, Mozambique, Aruba, Suriname, Curacao and Trinidad and Tobago to train coaches and assist local organisations to be able to run their own inclusive sport programs. 

Title Presentation: Play-Able: designing adapted sports program and coaches training to promote the rights and abilities of people with disabilities through sports

Fenna Walhain3.Fenna Walhain (SUR) - Fenna Walhain has a bachelor degree in Human Kinetic Technology (2007) and master’s degree Human Movement Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam (2010). For 5 years Fenna Walhain has been working both as teacher and researcher at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname and educates Biomechanics and Kinesiology for physiotherapy education. Since 2013 Fenna Walhain has done research in the field of physical activity, fitness and motor coordination in children with different cultural backgrounds, living in urban versus rural areas in Suriname.

Title Presentation: Health-related fitness, motor coordination, physical and sedentary activities of urban and rural children in Suriname