Amar Jyoti Day 1

Posted: 25th December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

Blogging has been difficult. But today was truly amazing day in Dehli. We went to a school that practices full inclusion and at the same time we were hoping to donate the chairs a famous Bollywood star by the name of Amir Kahn showed up to work on a documentary. Mr. Kahn was good enough to play some wheelchair basketball with us and later Greg Shelly and I ate with him.
We had been teaching about 8 disabled kids and several coaches when the lunch bell rang and we discovered that there at least 100 disabled students at the school….evidently we will get to meet and coach them tomorrow. Pictures will be posted by Dan. Later all!

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A Brooklyn morning

Posted: 22nd December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

Tuesday morning: 9:15 am

Very grey here in New York but I woke up feeling better then I have in months. The stress of getting ready for this project seems to be completely gone and in its place is anticipation of seeing smiles on faces when people get to play in sports chairs for the first time. In 1999, I sat in a sport wheelchair for the first time and it changed my life literally overnight. What an amazing tool sport can be for self-esteem building. The change of perception in not only the way you view yourself but in the way people look at you is amazing. This is our hope for the few people we meet this week. I am pumped up about it!
New photos can be seen on our photo link. I anticipate the blog will be more difficult to update from India but will do my best. Peace to all and thanks so much for your continuing support.

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The big apple

Posted: 21st December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

5pm in Brooklyn, Ny my birthplace.

Got to love the energy of New York. Bags collected and chairs slowly came out with one backrest missing but found on the last chair hanging by some Velcro brought a smile back to my face. Will tape backrest on prior to departure tomorrow. Mr. John Hamre was right on time and we packed chairs like sardines for the short ride to meet Mr.Riwo Norbhu at air India. Super nice Mr. Norbhu and I were told we might have to wrap the wheelchairs tomorrow prior to departure. If necessary I will do it without complaint. After all so far great support. Chairs secured, Mr. Hamre dropped me off in Brooklyn were I wait for my cousin so we can devour Grimaldi’s pizza which is worth a flight to New York by itself. I’ll attempt to send photos after I eat. Priorities after all!

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Travel Begins

Posted: 21st December 2011 by peter in Uncategorized

6am and my 1st blog ever.
Yesterday was spent organizing chairs and final touches and a early thanksgiving feast with the fam. Supracor cushions look awesome on chairs! Two time paralympian Kaitlyn Verfuerth met me at my house at 3 am to help drive me up to Phoenix. Thanks Kaitlyn! Just as we were getting ready to park a very unfriendly individual decided to take my spot and since I have yet to sleep I had to have a little conversation about common courtesy. The conversation woke me up to say the least and poor Kaitlyn got to see my Brooklyn side! The good people at Delta got everything checked in quickly and now we wait to fly delta 132 to Kennedy were we will meet with John Hamre and the good people of wheelchair sports federation. Check them out! http://www.wheelchairsportsfederation.org/

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WAW Makes The News!

Posted: 1st December 2011 by greg in Exciting News

On our last day at Amar Jyoti Ibnlive put together the following piece on the clinics and donations we did there:

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/207396/sheer-joy-of-sport-for-physically-challenged-kids.html

It was a bummer that Pete had already departed for the clinic and donations in Visag, but hopefully we will be seeing posts from the extensive media coverage he had down there soon!

VIDEO – Kid With Small Hands But Huge Heart!

Posted: 30th November 2011 by dan in Exciting News

There were certainly many moments at Amar Jyoti that will stay with us, but the following video shows you something we will never forget. It was a motivational moment even for us. Uplifting, Motivational, and Awesome!

Special Thanks!

Posted: 30th November 2011 by dan in Exciting News, Uncategorized

There are many people to thank for making the India Project actually come together and happen, but we want to specially thank Michael Rosenkrantz and Shelley Hockensmith for all their energy, dedication, hard work and assistance.

Michael was instrumental in coordinating and organizing the clinic at Amar Jyoti, and in arranging for lodging with AADI for Shelley, Greg and Pete during their stay in New Delhi. As well, he greeted and arranged for pick up of the passengers and the wheelchairs at the airport upon their arrival. Also, Michael assisted in resolving a customs snag when the wheelchairs first got to India — the officials in customs wanted to charge duty fees on the wheelchairs, even though they were being donated to a non-profit — without his assistance, the wheelchairs may have got stuck at customs, or WAW would have had to pay monies to get them cleared. Michael spent both days of the clinic at Amar Jyoti taking pictures, and helping Pete & Greg with the actual clinic, and then flew down to Vizag with Pete to co-conduct the clinic there. His advice, suggestions, and many contacts in India helped make this trip and this Project go a lot smoother and easier than it otherwise would have. His deep love of basketball and passion for working with the disabled blended well with WAW’s goals. Thank-you sooo much Michael!

Shelley ended up being a humongous asset, and of invaluable assistance on this Project. After Dan Altan couldn’t go due to a shoulder injury requiring surgery, and after Chuck Gill couldn’t go due to business/family commitments, the thought was to only have Peter and Greg go to India by themselves. However, somewhere along the line Shelley decided she would go and help us out, and that was a decision that WAW greatly benefited from. Shelley worked as hard as either of the two guys and was definitely more popular than both of them combined. Being a trained Physical Therapist and having worked with disabled athletes/people for many years, she was extremely comfortable taking an interactive role. The children and staff at Amar Jyoti LOVED her (see some of the pics in the Photo Gallery). She was constantly taking pictures/video, helping with drills and organization, and overall doing anything and everything that needed to be done for WAW. With no offense to either Greg or Peter, she was our actual, and more effective “ambassador” on this trip. We were pleased and thankful to have her, and without hesitation would love to have her on any future Projects. Biggest of Thanks Shelley!

They are all finally back, safe and sound! Peter, Greg and Shelley are back in the United States, excited beyond words with their experience in India. They went, they saw, they trained, they showed, and they donated a total of 12 sport wheelchairs to two different non-profit organizations in India — 6 sport wheelchairs to Amar Jyoti in New Delhi (a school teaching able-bodied and disabled kids in an inclusive environment), and 6 sport wheelchairs to The Ability People in Vizag (providing assistance to disabled people in the Vizag area).

The initial plan was to donate only 11 chairs to the India Project, but recognizing the need being as great as it is, Peter Hughes decided to donate his personal basketball wheelchair to the kids at Amar Jyoti school. Pictures of the wheelchairs donated to India can be seen in the “Photo Gallery”.

Our hope is that both Amar Jyoti and The Ability People will utilize the wheelchairs on a regular basis with an adaptive sports program that allows participants to use the chairs to play sports (basketball, soccer, rugby, etc..). We will follow up with each organization in the following months to see how the chairs are being utilized.

Our goal now is to 1. Raise money to pay for costs incurred for the India Project which some of the guys have so far covered with their own funds, and 2. Raise money for the next Project — the country and the non-profit not yet finalized.

It was a memorable union between basketball, goodwill, and fun at the Amar Jyoti Research & Rehabilitation Center in New Delhi on Saturday morning where India’s Senior Men’s Basketball team head coach Kenny Natt attended a clinic with primary school wheelchair basketball players. To raise awareness about athletes with disabilities, the National Trust hosted a Wheelchair Sports Event on November 25-26, 2011. As part of this event, American non-profit organisation Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide (WAW) donated seven sports wheelchairs to Amar Jyoti and conducted basketball clinics.

The initiative was part of ‘Badhte Kadam’, which is an awareness raising campaign by the National Trust aiming to create opportunities and participation in the community of People with Disabilities. Amar Jyoti, the venue for this event, is an inclusive school where students with and without disabilities learn together.

Natt was welcomed at the event by representatives from WAW and accomplished wheelchair athletes Peter Hughes and Greg Hockensmith. This was WAW’s first donation: Unlike regular wheelchairs – which are used by disabled youngsters at Amar Jyoti when they play basketball – the sports wheelchairs allow for better mobility and efficiency when taking parts in sports such as basketball and rugby.

Natt, an accomplished named in basketball who has had stints as a player and a coach with the NBA, took the role of student for a change as he was given tips on the rules and regulations of wheelchair basketball by experienced wheelchair athletes at the event. Hughes and Hockensmith then conducted short drills with several physically disabled under-14 students at Amar Jyoti to help them understand appropriate use of the sports wheelchairs.

The children, WAW athletes, and coach Natt then competed in a friendly wheelchair basketball game, as students from nearby schools gathered to watch and encourage the young hoopsters.

“I have played basketball at every level in my life, but this was completely new and different to me,” said Natt, “I had a lot of fun today: it takes a lot of hard work and practice to be an accomplished wheelchair basketball player. I’m sure I’ll be back here again!”

“Sport is great in several ways: it gives us an opportunity to compete and also to achieve together as a team,” Natt further encouraged the youngsters, “With sports, there is no limit to what you can accomplish, as long as you give in your hard work, your commitment, and practice. I encourage the young players here to focus on improving the weaker aspects of their game so that they can become better basketball players.”

“I’m honoured to be here, and I also commend Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide for their donation to the children.”

Project India is a GO!!

Posted: 30th September 2011 by admin in Exciting News

FINALLY!!! After more than 2 years of planning, discussions, fundraising, fixing of wheelchairs, setbacks, disappointments, getting of visa’s, etc… Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide is pleased to announce that at least one of our Members, Peter Hughes, will be going to India between November 23-29 to conduct a clinic and donate sport wheelchairs to one or more non-profits. Although we are hoping to work with Amor Jyoti in New Delhi and The Ability People in Visakhapatnam, a final decision as of yet has not been made as to where and with whom the clinic will be conducted, and to what non-profit organization the wheelchairs will be donated. We are confident these questions will shortly be answered. One thing for certain…… at least Peter Hughes will be going to India in November, with a bunch of wheelchairs to be donated. An almost certainty is that Greg Hockensmith will also be going to coordinate everything. We are now working hard to finalize other details pertaining to the trip….. such as, how do we get 11 wheelchairs from Tucson Arizona to JFK airport in New York without paying shipping charges or excess baggage fees with Delta (or another airline).