Health Energy Learning Motivation thru Sports was developed in 2009 through the collaboration of five agencies supporting persons with intellectual disabilities and the YMCAs of Quinte West/Belleville.
There are now 11 partner agencies supporting persons and three fitness centres. The mandate is to provide people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to experience community sports activities in an inclusive manner. This can only be accomplished through cooperation between the HELMS Steering Committee and the various community sports partners. Funding is received through various grants and donations and from fundraising.
The scaffolding method of teaching is used throughout the program to ensure each person is given the opportunity to achieve their highest level of competence.
The HELMS Program supports the beliefs that:
* every person should have the opportunity to participate in sports that may enrich their lives;
* every person can achieve a healthier life style through participation in sports;
* every person can become more proficient in sports;
* every person can participate more fully in the life of their community through sports activities.
Through participation in the HELMS Program, people with an intellectual disability can achieve:
1. Improved overall health, fitness and satisfaction levels
2. Strengthened knowledge of what constitutes a healthy life style
3. Increased motivation and understanding of sports and/or physical activities available to them
4. Increased natural connections to the community
The following guiding principles reflect the values of the program and provide a point of reference for planning and decision-making by the Steering Committee and staff:
Respect for the Person
Each person has unique needs, goals and desires and should be treated with respect and dignity for their personal choices.
Building an Inclusive Community
Each person is supported in their efforts to participate in the community, and HELMS will continue to advocate and pursue opportunities for inclusion.
Forming partnerships and collaborative ventures is essential in order to effectively and efficiently respond to the needs, goals and desires of people with a developmental disability.
Change is a necessary part of living, and therefore the outcomes of the supports and services provided by the organization will be continually evaluated to ensure that they respond to the needs of each person, as well as the emerging directions in policy, research and best practices.
Recognizing the fundamental rights and unique potential of all people, HELMS advocates for inclusion of each person with intellectual disabilities to all aspects of community life.