FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 25, 2014

Christie Administration Announces $330,000 in Grants For Athletes With Disabilities

More Than 20,000 Athletes with Disabilities Will Receive Sports Training and Athletic Competition

TRENTON, NJ – DCA Commissioner, Richard E. Constable, III, today announced the award of $330,000 in grants to three nonprofit groups that offer sports training and athletic competition for children, young adults and adults with disabilities living in New Jersey. The grants were awarded through the Athletics for Persons with Disabilities program administered by the Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Housing and Community Resources.

"Governor Christie and I are committed to providing athletic opportunities for all of New Jersey’s citizens," said Commissioner Constable.  "Athletics play an integral role in the lives and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. We are pleased to be able to offer this program to enhance their lives and their communities."

Three grants through the Athletics for Persons with Disabilities program were awarded to increase the availability of athletic events for individuals with disabilities through the support of statewide, nonprofit organizations that provide both separate and integrated athletic events for athletes with disabilities. Funded athletic programs will provide sports training opportunities prior to competition in the sport.

The Special Olympics of New Jersey (SONJ), a nonprofit that provides sports training and athletic competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, will receive a $265,000 grant. The grant funds will allow SONJ to conduct College Unified Sports programs on college campuses throughout the state, providing SONJ athletes ages 17 to 25 the opportunity to participate in recreational sports with their college aged peers. Funding will also go toward researching, identifying and sponsoring triathlon athletes in community triathlon competitions. Additionally, SONJ will recruit athletes to train and compete in a new rowing program where ten athletes will be recruited to train and compete in an indoor rowing competition.

"Special Olympics New Jersey is proud of the long term relationship with The Department of Community Affairs, stated Heather Andersen, Chief Marketing Officer. "The recent $265,000 contribution we received from the Department of Community Affairs will again directly support over 24,000 Special Olympics athletes in communities across the state."

Two additional awards will go to the Wheelchair Sports Council of New Jersey and the Association of Blind Athletes of New Jersey. The Wheelchair Sports Council of New Jersey, through a $40,000 grant, will provide at least 65 wheelchair athletes in New Jersey with the resources and opportunities for training, competition and development of their athletic and social skills. As a result of this funding, approximately 65 junior athletes will have the opportunity to attend the National Junior Disability Championship event competitions which hold competitions in Paralympic-style events. The Council will also use this grant to provide three sanctioned and three developmental meets for athletes in the New Jersey area and to develop the "NJ Blue Devils," which will provide opportunities for adult athletes to continue to compete after graduation from their youth program.

The Association of Blind Athletes of New Jersey will receive $25,000 to provide and promote recreational and competitive sporting opportunities throughout the state of New Jersey to approximately 40 individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The activities will include swimming, track and field, judo, power lifting, beep ball and goal ball. Athletes will attend and compete in local, state, national and international clinics, practices and competition. Athletes will also attend and compete in local, state, national and international clinics, practices and competition.

The Division of Housing and Community Resources strengthens and revitalizes communities through the delivery of affordable housing, supportive services and the provision of financial and technical assistance to communities, local government and community-based organizations. The Office of Community Services distributes federal funds to community agencies that help income-eligible households with health, education, employment, and housing needs. It also oversees the Office of Recreation which distributes state funding, certifies professionals, offers conferences, and provides technical assistance on recreation.

For a detailed listing of grant awards or for more information, visit