The Ability Center’s Open Gym Program to be Sponsored by PNC Bank

Weekly program provides opportunities for people impacted by disabilities to engage in healthy activity and play

MILWAUKEE – The Ability Center announced a commitment from PNC Bank to support Open Gym, an adaptive program to encourage good health and wellness and to reinvent how people play together.

As presenting sponsor, PNC’s support will help fund opportunities for participants to engage in indoor and outdoor activities and games like wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, goal ball and tennis. 

“The Open Gym program aligns with PNC’s ‘Commit 2 Be Fit’ initiative which helps encourage communities and families to come together and promote good health and wellness. We’re excited that our support will also create intentional connection points for our employees and their families to become involved, volunteer and inspire inclusive engagement,” said Chris Hermann, PNC regional president for Wisconsin. 

Since 2009, The Ability Center has fostered opportunities to provide people impacted with disabilities with a daily opportunity to be fit, active, healthy and to play, while also being inclusive to the able-bodied public.

“Open Gym provides an atmosphere where all can feel welcome, wanted and comfortable. Disability or not, Open Gym invites everybody to play together in an inclusive, non-competitive, friendly environment where friends, family and peers can play in a ’Different Pair of Shoes,’ ” said Damian Buchman, founder and executive director of The Ability Center.

The Open Gym Outdoors program runs every Wednesday through August 10, from 6 p.m to 8 p.m at Longfellow Middle School, located at 7600 W. North Avenue in Wauwatosa, WI. Additional dates and indoor locations will be announced for fall and winter. 

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“The Ability Center’s Open Gym program has transformed my daughter’s mental and physical health. What we were going through the last four years was just heart wrenching, having a child with a chronic illness is hard. There is just so much darkness,” says Stephanie S., mother of an Open Gym participant. “She got in that gym and immediately felt at home. There was encouragement, positivity, and a way of having the feeling of normal, of who she was her whole life, her love of sports, her competitive nature, it was still a possibility.”

“Three days shy of my thirteenth birthday, childhood bone cancer sidelined me. It took me out of physical education, out of scholastic sports, out of equitable interaction with my peers,” said Buchman. “My only goal for Open Gym is to make sure participants of ALL abilities feel like they’re in the game, not on the bench.”

As part of ongoing awareness campaigns, The Ability Center will also help lead an educational presentation for PNC Bank employees during Disability Awareness Month in October to enhance their knowledge and understanding of how improving quality of life for people of all abilities can help transform inclusivity in their networks and communities. For more information about Open Gym and other programs at The Ability Center visit tacwi.org

About PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit pnc.com

About The Ability Center

The Ability Center’s (TAC) goal is to provide a higher quality of life for people of all abilities by transforming greater Milwaukee into the most universally inclusive recreation destination in the world. TAC achieves its mission, to provide people impacted by disabilities with a daily opportunity to be fit, active, healthy, and to play, through three initiatives: RampUp: Universal Community, which designs, builds and/or implements universally inclusive recreational opportunities; Open Gym: Adaptive Programs, partners with community-based nonprofits, and parks & recreation departments – Open Gym provides an opportunity for people of all abilities to play together in an inclusive, non-competitive, friendly environment where your friends, family, peers and/or colleagues can join you to play in a “Different Pair of Shoes;” and ASAP: Inclusive Education, a school-based Adaptive Scholastic Athletic Program (ASAP), hosts disability awareness assemblies and inclusive physical education classes. Connect with us on tacwi.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

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