Edition 17 | Summer 2019
Ability360’s youth sports programs flourishing with support from MaxInMotion Foundation
Story by Meghan Fable
Since 2013, Ability360 has had a true partner in the MaxInMotion Foundation. The program they generously fund allows children ages 4 to 18 with physical disabilities to participate in adaptive sports one Saturday a month for six months of the year.
The program has expanded considerably since its inception. In the first two years, participants learned both power soccer and wheelchair basketball. Participation increased in 2015 after the program introduced wheelchair tennis. In the years following, two new sports were introduced: wheelchair lacrosse and adaptive golf. Clinics also ran for a longer time period from July to December.
In 2018, baseball was added. This year, MaxInMotion clinics are offered eight months out of the year because of the program’s tremendous popularity.
“MaxInMotion is extremely proud to partner with Ability360 to help bring sports opportunities to deserving kids in Arizona,” Jonah Shacknai, founder of MaxInMotion, said. “We are very excited about our future collaboration and look forward to many years of working together.”
MaxInMotion allows youth participants, and their family members, to receive the benefits of recreation without any financial barriers, as the clinic is fully-sponsored. Participants come from as far as Florence, Ahwatukee, Prescott, Glendale and everywhere in-between. An average of 13 children participate each week in the program. It offers much more than just exposure to adaptive sports for these young people and their families, one mother stated.
“MaxInMotion has made a huge impact on our family, especially our son, Jackson,” said Monica Lindmark, the mother of brothers, Jackson and Holden, who have attended MaxInMotion for five years. “Before MaxInMotion, Jackson was only a spectator when it came to sports. The clinics have given him the opportunity to play all the sports he loves so much and branch out into other sporting activities that he hadn’t even considered previously. He’s made so many friends and been coached by talented, dedicated athletes.”
Lindmark added that the clinics also give her younger son the ability to play and bond with his brother in ways they would otherwise not experience.
Over the last six years, the program has utilized the expertise of coaches from the Wheelchair Suns, Ability360 Power Soccer players, Ability360’s nationally-ranked wheelchair rugby athletes and Ability360 tennis coaches. All have played a significant role as mentors, providing in-depth skills, guidance and encouragement.
Youth adaptive sports alumni from past MaxInMotion events have also mentored and coached the younger athletes who aren’t involved in the program. In addition to these alumni, volunteers like Ethan Shacknai, who is Max’s brother and Jonah’s son, make the program more meaningful.
“I had the privilege of helping these terrific kids participate in all sorts of wheelchair-based sports activities last summer. It was heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces, and I can only admire their tremendous commitment and dedication,” Ethan said.
Ability360’s youth sports programs have been able to flourish over the years with support from the MaxInMotion Foundation, and the impact is vividly felt by participants and family members alike.
With the changes the program has undergone over the years, there’s no doubt it will continue to grow. For more information and to get involved in the clinics, visit www.MaxInMotion.org.
Ability360 is a 501(C)(3) organization. Through contributions to Qualifying Charitable Organizations (formerly known as the Working Poor Tax Credit), you can donate your Arizona Tax Credit to Ability360. If you would like to consider a planned estate gift to Ability360, such as a will or trust, life insurance policy or retirement account, please designate the gift to Ability360 in your estate/beneficiary documents and/or execute a gift agreement clearly indicating your legacy wishes. All donation information can be found on our website at www.ability360.org/donate. For more information, please contact Meghan Fable, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.