WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The Augusta Levy learning Center, Easterseals, the Wheeling Nailers, Mighty Pens Sled Hockey and so many others have come together once again for the 2nd Annual Inclusion On Ice.
The afternoon began with sled hockey between the Might Penguins Sled Hockey Team from Pittsburgh vs. the Nailers & Lightningbirds to show participants their potential on the ice.
”It feels so great to be the greatest example for these kids to show them what they can actually do with their disability.”Mark Scheinert – Adult Black Player, Mighty Penguins
Augusta Levy and Easterseals provide resources for children with disabilities, and having representation is so important.
”Despite the fact that it’s 2023, I feel like that sometimes the disability community is still hidden and, you know, people just aren’t familiar with the community and so bringing everybody together for an inclusive event like this is very valuable I think just for the betterment of our whole community.”Betsy Bethel-McFarland – Marketing Director, Easterseals
The community is essential in events like these, as Easterseals is a nonprofit organization that has been around for 85 years, and the impact is long lasting.
Sarah Riley has been a patient at Easterseals in Wheeling since she was 7 months old and has been volunteering with them ever since to support this representation.
”It shows people that they can actually be physically active and they can play sports. It is possible if you’re disabled that you can be physically active and you can play sports.”Sarah Riley – Adult Black Team Manager, Mighty Penguins
This inclusive event is also free for everyone with adaptive equipment, skates, and sensory activities provided that would not be possible without many sponsors throughout the community as well as the student hockey players lending a helping hand on the ice.
”I think being able to see that there are these individuals who may not skate the way we see them here in Wheeling like whenever we go to watch the Nailers, but getting to see how they are adapting and skating on sleds – I think that is so inspiring and helpful for our students to be able to realize if you want something, you can do it.”Jessica Osmianski – Director of Development & Communications, Augusta Levy Learning Center