Dr. Steven Ungerleider, founding board member of GSD, recently traveled to Munich, Germany to take part in the beginnings of the Munich Memorial Project. During this trip Dr. Ungerleider was able to visit the future site of the memorial. Watch the video and learn more about this endeavor.
Monthly Archives: September 2014
If you grew up when playing an afternoon game of baseball, basketball, kickball or street hockey was the quintessential rite of childhood, you’re not alone. Most kids, whether they were the athletic type or the ones who spent most of their time indoors with a video controller in their hand, still have fond memories of a neighborhood sport game at some point in their childhood.
But for kids with disabilities, not so much. While the Department of Disability and Human Development recommend youths get 60 minutes of physical activity per day most days of the week, kids with disabilities aren’t logging in near this level.
And unfortunately that means they are less active and more obese than their non-disabled peers. What’s more, the combination of health risks associated with inactivity and obesity present serious health concerns for the disabled youth population. Studies show one of the most important challenges is finding ways to increase physical activity and fitness for youth with disabilities in their communities.
“Kids with disabilities benefit from activities, physical activities and sports just like kids that are typically developing,” says Mary Kate Morgan, PT, DPT, a therapist working with disabled youth at Larabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
But the fact is, children with physical or mental disabilities face challenges joining a sport team, and communities with programs open to this population may be hard to come by.
Yet the same camaraderie, self-esteem, sense of belonging and accomplishment that kids receive from being involved in sports benefits all kids.
Morgan stresses some of the physiological benefits include improving cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility and coordination. Some of the psychological benefits include improving self-concept, self-esteem, being able to relate to other kids, improving friendships, as well as improving their overall quality of life.
MODIFIED OR MAINSTREAM?
“Providing kids with ability to participate in sports even if they are adaptive sports still help those kids reach those physical and psychological benefits,” says Morgan. Because kids may not be able to participate in a typical gym class or a typical soccer team, if they are doing modified gym or modified sports they are learning they can be just as effective and can build camaraderie with their peers and teammates as well as empower themselves. They learn they are in charge of their bodies and that physical activity is fun and good for them: body, mind and spirit.
Programs like Special Olympics are for youth who may have a cognizant or physical disability, and that can mean anything from walking with a walker to needing assistance to propel their wheelchair. In situations where a disability might be more severe, their ability to participate in sports is just as important, but they may need an aid, teacher or a volunteer to help them participate. Sports teams that are modified include everything from wheelchair basketball where the hoops are lowered to a rubberized baseball diamond so kids in chairs can wheel the bases.
Integrated teams may also be a possibility in some communities where typically developing kids play alongside kids with disabilities. Again, extra aids and volunteers are the norm on these teams. Some sport teams may assess skill level and have kids aged from 6 to 15 on the same team who play on a mostly even proficiency.
It’s important to remember that kids able to play on integrated teams within their ability level shouldn’t focus on competition but rather on learning the sport, having fun and making friends. Emotional development like leadership skills, following instructions and team fellowship are important aspects of being involved in sports.
“I feel like I was one of those children who was not that good at sports but what my family did was encourage me to participate and keep my head high, and even though I may not have been the best at it I was definitely most spirited,” says Morgan. Remind kids that participating on the team is not necessarily to become the number one scorer or shooter but to learn the sport, improve their own performance, make friends and have a good time.
Sports like track, swimming, golf and tennis may be ideal for kids with disabilities who may not have the emotional wherewithal to handle the compromises and disappointments of a team effort, but can focus more on their own performance—besting their own time, improving their own score, or competing against a single opponent.
There are a lot of barriers to participating in sports for kids with disabilities, and finding the right sport, the right coach, and the right team may be challenging. Does the sport have the right adaptive equipment the child might need? If it’s an integrated team, is the teammate culture right for your child? Families should use whatever resources they have at their disposal for leads including their pediatrician, teachers, therapists and other health providers.
“At Larabida, we have different organizations that help introduce kids to different sports. We have a company called to Dare to Try, and they give kids an opportunity to try adaptive bikes and give kids a chance to see what it’s like to do triathlons,” says Morgan.
There are also summer and vacation day camps that provide kids with special needs activities they may not usually get a chance to try like archery, kayaking or hiking for instance.
Make sure your child has had a sports physical and has the go ahead to play the sport. And look for coaches and volunteers with some experience with disabled youth. Talk to the coach to explain what disabilities your child has. For integrated teams, teammates should also be aware of the child’s limitations. Maybe he can bat but needs a substitute base runner. Perhaps she needs more frequent rest breaks. Everyone should be on the same page.
‘It’s important to build habits of being physically active because sometimes with kids with disabilities it gets even harder to be physically active as they get heavier and older and their tolerance to exercise can decrease, so encouraging it for the long run is important,” says Morgan.
Throughout the month of September, we turn our attention to Childhood Cancer Awareness. Childhood cancer can leave a wake of devastation in its path as families experience immense worry, financial turmoil, and all too often, the heartbreak of losing a child. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, 15,780 children under 21 years of age are diagnosed with cancer every year.
In his 2012 proclamation, President Obama shared the good news that the five year survival rate for all childhood cancers has risen to 80% — a great increase from the 50% survival rate just a few decades ago. Each year important research allows for advances in detection and treatment of childhood cancers.
CANCER AND DEPRESSION
While treatments, such as chemotherapy, can take charge of healing a patient’s body, often times, the patient’s mental health and emotional well-being are adversely affected. Depression and anxiety are common for people with cancer, as well as for their family members and loved ones. Acknowledging the possibility for post-diagnosis depression in cancer patients is extremely important because patients who experience depression are at risk for failing to comply with their treatment plans, encountering reduced quality of life, and becoming isolated from family members and caregivers, all of which can affect their mortality.
Abundant research has been conducted into the science of healing spaces. For example, in this TED video, Dr. Esther Sternberg discusses the effect our surroundings – especially hospitals – can have on our mental and physical well-being. Numerous elements have the ability to affect our mood and health, such as scents, color, the inclusion (or not) of nature, types and levels of lighting, and sounds or noises. Adjusting these sensory experiences can reduce blood pressure, induce relaxation, and even lower perceived pain.
ROOMS THAT ROCK 4 CHEMO
Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating more of these significant healing spaces by transforming existing chemotherapy treatment rooms, which are almost always cold, stoic and uninviting, into treatment centers that truly promote all aspects of healing. Their mission is to create positive, healing, lovely and uplifting spaces that spiritually, emotionally, and physically support those dealing with challenges to their health. With a community of volunteers, designers, artists, and medical professionals, they have drastically improved chemo treatment centers – over 150 rooms — across the United States. Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo’s work is also 100% volunteer created!
Supporting the physical and mental health of youth and their families is important to us and we are delighted to include Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo as one of our newest grant recipients. On the first of November, we will be joining Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo for their inaugural fundraising gala in San Francisco, and we are excited to have the opportunity to visit some of their amazing healing spaces. We are looking forward to seeing this incredible organization in action and can’t wait to share our experience with you!
To learn more about RoomsThatRock4Chemo please visit http://roomsthatrock4chemo.org/
As meetings in Munich regarding the Munich Memorial project have come to a close, we are pleased to share details regarding the architecture of the memorial.
DESIGN OF MUNICH MEMORIAL
The local Munich architecture firm, Brückner & Brückner, was chosen by the selection jury for this project, which is scheduled to open in Autumn of 2016. The planned memorial will be built on a hill in near the Tennis Courts of the Olympic Park in Munich. Their design concept focuses on the loss of life, which will be recognized symbolically as the whole memorial will be a series of cuts into the hill.
After the cuts are made into the hill, eleven columns will support the roof of the memorial. Each column will be dedicated to one of the 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team killed by the terrorist group, Black September, on September 5, 1972. The columns will share details from the Olympians’ lives as well as their photos.
In the center of the memorial, visitors will find a circular display retelling the events from that day. Between each of the columns will be further discussion on particular topics surrounding the event, such as the political significance of the 1972 Games, German-Israeli relations, global terrorism, and the aftermath of the attack. These displays will be light projections.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development is proud to be financially supporting this project. We are joining the International Olympic Committee, The City of Munich, the German National Olympic Committee, and the Bavarian State government to fully fund this important and educational memorial.
The competition for the memorial to commemorate the victims of the Olympic killing is decided. The winning design provides a freely accessible space in front under a roof that looks like a hill on stilts.
Written by Kassian Stroh
There will soon be a memorial to commemorate the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attacks. It will be located on a cut hill in the Olympic Park in Munich. With this concept, the architectural firm of Brückner & Brückner office has prevailed in an architectural competition for the planned memorial. It will be built on a hill on Kolehmainenweg, south of the Olympic Village and north of the tennis courts near the Olympic Stadium. Brückner & Brückner’s concept is to make a one meter horizontal cut from this little hill, symbolizing the cut that the terrorist attack had on the lives of the victims. The resulting roof is to be supported by columns.
The exhibition space underneath will be placed around three feet deep, so that a good two meters high, open on all sides space is created. “A cut” the brothers Peter and Christian Brückner call their plan – “nothing added, they take something away – namely the lives of eleven athletes”, commented the Zurich architect Barbara Holzer, who chaired the jury.
The directive to create the memorial that was issued two years ago by the State Government has taken a big step forward. Standing next to the Bavarian State Minister for Education and Culture, Ludwig Spaenle, at Monday’s press conference was another financial backer of the memorial – the Los Angeles-based Foundation for Global Sports Development, represented by Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich, which will contribute approximately 200,000 euros. The International Olympic Committee is providing a grant in the same amount, while the German National Olympic Committee has pledged 350,000 euros. The City of Munich will contribute 420,000 euros – a figure announced by Cultural Officer Bernhard Küppers on Monday. The remaining approximately 500,000 Euros will come from the Bavarian State government.
For the memorial, the architects have proposed that eleven columns will support the roof. Each column will be dedicated to one of eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team who died in the attack of the Palestinian terror squads on September 5, 1972.
On these columns a photo of each athlete will be displayed, as well as additional biographical information. Here, however, the jury sees the possibility for improvement, as was to be heard on Monday. Also unclear is whether there will be a column for the only German victim, specifically the Munich policeman Anton Fliegerbauer, who was killed during the failed rescue attempt at the military airport Fürstenfeldbruck. In the middle of the room will be a bright 24-hour circle to represent the events of that day. Between the columns will be information on four other issues: the political significance of the Games of 1972, the German-Israeli relations, transnational terrorism and the aftermath of the assassination. Some of this can be accomplished with light projections from the ceiling to the floor. These also have the advantage of being less prone to vandalism than information boards or tables.
The memorial will be freely accessible around the clock, and will not be a museum in the conventional sense. The roof will allow it to act as a place to stay and contemplate, even on a rainy day. The covered area will comprise about 130 square meters. Since the space is completely open, the visitor has both the Olympic sites in view as well as the apartments at the Connolly Street 31, the location of the hostage-taking.
Scheduled to open in autumn 2016, the initiative for this is largely due to the former Israeli Consul General in Munich, Tibor Shalev Schlosser. Prime Minister Horst Seehofer made the idea his own and pushed it forward. The architectural competition included six different architectural firms.
The submitted designs are on show until October 5 in the foyer of the Jewish Museum at Jacob’s Place: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18 clock, but not on 25 and 26 September and 4 October.