RICHMOND, VA – (Friday, August 9, 2013) – The Richmond Kickers are pleased to announce the inception of RVAccess, a program designed to offer children, ages 4-19, with physical and mental disabilities the opportunity to experience the gratification and excitement of soccer. In memory of their daughter Gracie, the Hazelton Family, in conjunction with the Richmond Kickers and additional donors, will expand upon and enhance currently available adaptive soccer programs in the Richmond area with sessions slated to be held a Hensley Park in Midlothian and The Collegiate School in the West End.
“Richmond is fast becoming a soccer Mecca,” explained Rob and Elizabeth Hazelton. “Making this beautiful sport more accessible and inclusive makes sense. By expanding the outreach of the program to serve more of the community, we hope that more athletes and buddies can benefit from the program.”
Through the generous support of private donors, RVAccess is a cost free program, offering a fun, challenging, and exciting way for athletes of all abilities to play the game they love. Each session will be tailored to the individuals’ needs ranging from fun activities to small sided games and athletes will be partnered with a buddy to work one on one. Using an assortment of large and small soccer balls, hula-hoops, cones, and games the athlete learns soccer skills in a fun and supportive group environment. The buddies encourage the athletes to participate to the best of their abilities, and foster the love of the game. The athlete-buddy relationship creates patience and compassion which often transcend the confines of the soccer field.
"The Richmond Kickers are humbled with the recent leadership gift to RVAccess made by the Hazelton family,” said Rob Ukrop, Richmond Kickers President, Board of Directors. “This visionary gift provides our organization with the ability to grow the program throughout the Richmond Region, allowing participants to engage in meaningful soccer experiences that connect families and kids in our community. We are also excited about the new volunteer opportunities that RVAccess provides for our youth club members as they learn about sharing their time and talents."
“As a parent of a special needs child, RVAccess presents an opportunity for children to be part of the "game"-fostering exercise, joy, camaraderie, and inclusion,” added Hazelton. “As a parent of a buddy, RVAccess presents an opportunity for stewardship, commitment, and a pathway to increased empathy and caring. This truly is a program that benefits both sides alike, and is wonderful to see these relationships and people develop, simply with a ball and a field.”
Families will have the ability to choose a location, either Hensley or Collegiate, or participate at both for the fall season and will have even more opportunities as RVAccess continues to grow. Each child will receive a Richmond Kickers t-shirt at the start of the season. To register your child as an athlete for the RVAccess fall season or for information on volunteering or contributing, visit RichmondKickers.com/RVAccess.