One way to encourage young people with mental disabilities to lead an active social and professional life is to create favourable conditions for their physical, psychological, and social rehabilitation including involving them in recreation and sporting activities. The workers of the Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k’s project to assist special needs individuals strongly believe in this.
On 16 September the 3rd annual friendly football match for disabled youth and volunteers was held on Ivano-Frankivs’k College of Physical Education’s football field.
The game united nearly 60 individuals, including clients of the Centre for Recreation and Social Adaptation for Youth with Limited Abilities run by the local Caritas, their parents and friends.
The Regional Football Federation, headed by Vasyl Lutskyy and the College of Physical Education’s Director Lyubomyr Pasichnyak have supported this event since its inception. Everything mimicked reality: there were demanding practices, a professional playing field, professional referees, and of course, fans.
“We are very grateful to those people who helped us hold this football game, because this is our joint effort which has involved children and young people into the life of society. It is also a great joy for the kids that can’t be replaced by anything else!” explained Fr. Volodymyr Chorniy, Director of Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k UGCC.
The children prepared well in advance for the game. They had 8 practices during August and September on the playing field. During the practices the children developed and improved their physical skills, and also had the opportunity to learn how to better judge distance, train their memory for sequential movements, and generally improve their physical health.
The teams Zhyvchyky (Lively) and Nevhamovni (Vivacious) had a heated game. During the game they forgot all the uncertainty and troubles they had during practice. There were no winners or losers; friendship overcame, as the game was tied 2:2. After the game Vasyl Lutskyy gave Caritas a new football and presented the captains of each team gold medals. Then Fr. Chorniy thanked everyone for a good game, distributed awards to each player.
The spirit of competition, positive emotions during successful situations, and expanding their social experience, all created a favourable environment for more effective social integration of disabled young people through exposure to different experiences.
This event was held thanks to the financial support of the Association of Foundations in the Netherlands for Central and Eastern Europe, ScanFund, and the Carpathian Foundation (Foundation for Developing the Carpathian Euro-region) through the friendship program It Takes Two: Help Another—Become a Friend.