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Disabled students buddy up at FGCU Water Games

Photo by James Greco

College isn’t just about fun and games, but on Friday, April 8, five students from an FGCU class will try to make it that way for disabled high schoolers visiting campus.

Students Lindsey Morimanno, Thomas Figlow, Chance Galloway, Jordan Santee and Logan Stone will host the FGCU Water Games as part of a Humanities and Social Issues project. The group will be bringing 40 disabled students from both South Fort Myers High School and Riverdale High School to the North Lake Village Waterfront for a day of kayaking, sailing and beach games.

Morimanno said the group was inspired to create the Water Games after hearing about an organization called Freedom Waters.

“Basically, they take people with disabilities out on a boat and teach them to sail,” Morimanno said.

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Morimanno said the group reached out to different high schools in the area to see if students there had an interest in participating in the games.

The people who will participate have disabilities ranging from developmental to physical, but Morimanno said she is confident the event will provide activities that everyone can participate in, including kayaking, sailing, corn hole and volleyball.

Morimanno said she thinks this event is important to help FGCU students build relationships with disabled people.

“People don’t view them as capable,” Morimanno said. “They kind of are timid toward them, and I think (the disabled) are just so amazing.

The event is scheduled to take place on the waterfront from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will be setting up the area at 8 a.m. and cleaning up the area after the event. Morimanno said the group did work with the FGCU Waterfront to coordinate the event, but it was unable to reserve equipment. So, any FGCU students who wish to use kayaks or boats will take precedent over event participants.

The group is hoping to have one volunteer at the event per disabled student. Morimanno said they still need 15 more volunteers. Interested students can contact Morimanno via email at [email protected]. Volunteers in the Honors Program can receive event credit for participation.

Morimanno said the volunteers may get more out of the event than they expect.

“You’re just going to leave the event smiling,” Morimanno said. “It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a blast.”

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