USOC grant enables disabled vets to enjoy outdoor sports

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s Disability Services Division has been awarded a 2012 Olympic Opportunity Fund grant totaling $24,000 — from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), Paralympic Division.

The funds will be used to create Miami- Dade County Parks’ new “COVERT Project” (Connecting the Outdoors with Veterans through Education, Recreation and Training) that will enable local disabled veterans to enjoy the sports of archery, sports shooting (air rifles/guns), kayaking and swimming.

The following are the upcoming COVERT session days, times and locations:

Archery, 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 15, 29, and Dec. 6, Camp Owaissa Bauer, 17001 SW 264 St., Homestead;

Shooting Sports (Air Rifles/Guns), 10 a.m.-noon, Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, Trail Glades Gun Range, 17601 SW Eighth St., Miami;

Kayaking, 10 a.m.-noon, Mar. 7, 14, 21, 28, Apr. 4 and 11, Crandon Park, 4000 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, and

Swimming, 10 a.m.-noon, Apr. 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16 and 23, AD Barnes Pool, 3701 SW 72 Ave., Miami.

Program dates are subject to change. Limited transportation will be provided from the Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami. Participants must pre-register in order to secure spots as space is limited. Program participation is limited to disabled veterans with the following disabling conditions: spinal cord injury, amputation, and traumatic head injury. Some restrictions in participation may apply to certain sporting activities.

For more information and to pre-register, contact Miami-Dade County Parks Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Jody Cox at 305-234-1673 or send email to

Miami-Dade County Parks Disability Services is one of a few organizations nationwide to receive the 2012 Olympic Opportunity Fund grant through the USOC, U.S. Paralympics Division. The USOC has awarded more than $2 million in grant funding to a total of 97 organizations in support of Paralympics sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed forces. The Olympic Opportunity Fund is provided through a partnership between the USOC and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 were provided to USOC partner organizations to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically and visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sports programs.

In its third year, the Olympic Opportunity Fund has provided more than $4 million to 223 USOC partner and community programs resulting in thousands of veterans with physical and visual impairments who are participating in sports programs and opportunities at the regional and national levels.

For information about Miami-Dade County Parks call 3-1-1, or visit

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