Aquafit for All Association is a non-profit organization that aims to design and provide accessible aquatic exercise opportunities for people with disabilities/injuries and neurodiverse children. We spoke with Board Member Ana Arciniega to learn more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences:
Our mission is to work with existing community groups/organizations to design and provide accessible aquatic exercise opportunities for people with disabilities/injuries and neurodiverse children who may not be able to access regular aquatic programs. We believe that physical fitness and social participation through aquatic exercises are things that should be enjoyed by everyone.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Our goal is to make aquatic rehab/activities accessible to all Canadians.
Through adapting and modifying aquatic programs, we advocate for the accessibility of aquatic rehab/exercises. Research has shown that aquatic rehab/exercises improve physical and mental well-being. AFA’s programs are free, accessible, and always with the goal of inclusion.
When did you start/join it?
We began with a trial run in November of 2016 and have been operating ever since.
What made you want to get involved?
Being part of the possibility to make aquatic exercises more inclusive for individuals of all abilities. I started as a volunteer in the pool assisting people with disabilities, and later became a board member to continue supporting Aquafit for All.
What was the situation like when you started?
There were not many affordable exercise options available for people with chronic conditions or disabilities once they leave the hospital.
How has it changed since?
We now have a number of programs, such as aquatic literacy for children with developmental disabilities, aqua vision program for people who are blind or partially blind, aqua BLAST for stroke survivors, and because of COVID, we are offering a virtual adapted exercise class online with participants from all over BC!
What more needs to be done?
We need to continue creating awareness of the importance of starting/sustaining these community programs as many people are not aware of their positive impact and/or availability.
How can our readers help?
You can support our cause by following our work, spreading awareness about our programs and donating.
Do you have any events coming up?
We are planning to hold a fundraiser later in 2023. Stay tuned!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Chimo Community Services – they service people in crisis, transition and through education.