By Marci Narum
Give us a little history of Dreams in Motion.
After attending a sled hockey event in 2011 hosted by Hope, Inc., in Fargo-Moorhead, an inspired group of volunteers began work to create a similar program for youth and young adults with mobility challenges or visual impairments in central and western North Dakota. Since then, the all-volunteer board has partnered with a number of wonderful organizations and venues to provide wheelchair basketball, soccer, curling, downhill skiing, sled hockey, track and field, dance, and tennis to area youth. Now the Dreams in Motion team looks to expand its programs and increase awareness for adaptive sports benefits and opportunities.
What services or benefits do you offer?
The Dreams in Motion team believes every child deserves the opportunity to play sports. Whether competitive or recreational, sports offer unique opportunities to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, even heartbreak. Our goal is to help young people with mobility challenges or visual impairment gain confidence, enjoy themselves with friends and family, and, if so inclined, follow a path to college teams and national dreams. As part of our commitment, Dreams in Motion organizes sports events, venues and volunteers, provides equipment to participants—including friends and family who are also encouraged to play—and transports athletes to and from other regional events. Oh, and we have a dance team. And a fashion show.
Who do you help?
The Dreams in Motion mission is to provide sporting and recreational activities for youth and young adults with mobility challenges or visual impairments. For example, Hope Reis is a young woman who started Hope’s Vision adaptive downhill skiing programs as a Girl Scout Gold Award project in 2010. Since then, she has worked with Dreams in Motion to grow that sport in our region, most recently hosting the annual “Day on the Hill” event at Huff Hills. Likewise, another young woman, Hope Magelky, has a passion for sled hockey and has been instrumental in driving those Dreams in Motion events. These young women embraced the physical and social changes sports activities made in their lives and actively worked to share that experience with other young people. We follow their lead and support them in their efforts because both are prime examples of who we help and why we do so.
How are you different from other organizations like yours?
We are not so different from other organizations; rather there are too few of us providing recreational activities and sports programs to these young people—and we’d like to change that. In the next few weeks, Dreams in Motion will become an official Paralympic Club as designated by the U.S. Olympic Committee. With their guidance, we hope to expand our programs and enable more athletes and families to participate.
How can people support your organization?
In order to grow, Dreams in Motion needs more formalized programs, additional equipment, coaches, venues, partners, and volunteers. Currently, the organization hosts fundraising events to help cover these costs, raise awareness, and inspire young people to participate.
In fact, on March 19, we will host our March Mobility Madness event, a competitive wheelchair basketball tournament held in conjunction with our Community Days celebration and silent auction at the Mandan Middle School. The event is free and open to the public and teams are made up of both able-bodied and adaptive sports athletes. To help support the event, we are seeking individuals, businesses, and organizations to sponsor and/or field teams, donate silent auction items or funds, and join us in having a grand time!
As part of the event, five-time Paralympian and three-time Gold Medalist Christina Schwab and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Bronze Medalist Mariska Beijer, along with a number of other expert coaches and players, will share their talents with the teams. We invite you to join us to watch these athletes in action and help us make dreams come true for area youth and young adults through adaptive sports.