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New program helps Hunter teens with disability live healthier lives

Two young girls running down the field
Two young girls running down the field

We've helped Cerebral Palsy Alliance launch a unique program in the Hunter to assist local teens with a disability improve their health and wellbeing through physical and social activity.

Funded through our Community Grant, the twelve-week Run for Life program helps build techniques, skills and confidence while promoting social engagement through various physical activities. Held in Newcastle, Tuggerah and East Maitland one night a week, the program is open to 13 - 17 year olds from across the region.

The individually tailored program involves an assessment by a physiotherapist, including a video analysis of their running, to strengthen their body, improve movement skills and mental stamina, all-the-while building confidence and social connections.

The teens also receive a fitness pack which includes gifts such as a drink bottle and a Garmin watch to help track their step count - with the goal to reach 10,000 steps per day.

Children with disabilities are nine times more likely to report cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to common symptoms such as chronic pain, as well as physical limitations like walking and talking, which can impact the amount of activity they can do

Run For Life or as the kids like to call it, "Run Squad" aim to improve these statistics by helping young teens to develop gross motor skills that will help them get to the point where they can participate in school activities and build social connections at the same time.

Family involvement is also an important aspect of the new program, as family, especially sibling involvement, is sometimes overlooked in traditional programs.

The program gives these siblings the chance to get out and about and keep active alongside their brother or sister.

For more information on Cerebral Palsy Alliance, check out their website.

Check out our Run Squad video!