As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division programs, 17 participants from Zimbabwe spent October 5-19, 2019, in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Indianapolis, Indiana examining the management of organized university sports and student engagement.

Bridge II Sports was honored to be included in this ‘sports cultural exchange’ on Thursday October 10 sharing knowledge and engaging the group in adapted sports for people with physical disabilities.

Here are some thoughts on this special day from BIIS Founder & CEO Ashley Thomas:

What a joy it was to share how we conduct our adapted sport programs with a distinguished group of University Sport Administrators from Zimbabwe!

I got an email from the U.S. Department of State asking if we would host a group of  international leaders on growing an adapted sport program.  Of course we would!
What would it take?  Our own BIIS team, Wes Hall, Akeem Hassell, Daisy Hayward, Gloria Johnson and myself, along with volunteers: John Book, Tommy York, and Kathy Duffy.

On the big day we set up interactive trainings for our guests that included archery, handcycling, sitting volleyball, boccia, and goalball.  These sports were broken down into different disability groups showing how to adapt to many physical disabilities.  We also shared how to include those without disabilities in a fair way creating an equal playing field.  All the ambassadors got in on the action!

When reflecting on the day, very kind words were shared on their experiences. One was that we had a team that believed in the mission, and shared it with passion and compassion.  Appreciation was given for the many ways there were to adapt to different disabilities.  Our guests were amazed to see how simple things, twine and some tape to mark out a goalball court or a beach ball and simple net divider for sitting volleyball, could easily make sports more accessible and fun for all.

We completed the day with a very kind gift from our guests.  This is a day that I will never forget!
I am excited to keep in touch with our new friends and learn how adapted sports are impacting their students.

Thank you to Matt from the U.S. Department of State & Evan and Jane from fhi360 for connecting us and coordinating this wonderful visit.

Has Bridge II Sports gone international? So honored to serve!

Building the (International) Bridge Together-