Founded in 2007, Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) has been providing life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity to children, youth and adults who are blind and visually impaired. Fifteen years ago, a group of visually impaired students, including NWABA Founder, President & CEO, Billy Henry, wanted to ensure that people who are blind and visually impaired had access to participate in sports and physical activity, and formed this charitable organization. Since then, not only has the organization grown but our athletes have grown with us; learning to engage in different sports and recreational activities, develop friendships, increase self-esteem, and improve their orientation and mobility skills. Most importantly, they thrive in all aspects of their lives by building confidence, making connections, and become part of a community.
Being blind or visually impaired creates obstacles that can feel impossible to overcome, such as finding sustainable employment, participating in sports and activities, and connecting with others. Nationwide, the unemployment rate for individuals who are blind is 70-80% and we believe the primary reason for this is a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Because of these difficulties, most who individuals who are blind lead a sedentary lifestyle, and never experience what many people take for granted. However, when introduced to physical activity and sports, individuals with visual impairments are given the support and confidence needed to follow their dreams.
NWABA provides year-round sports outreach programs, as well as many other programs & services for children, youth and adults who are blind and visually impaired throughout Washington.
Camp Spark is a comprehensive overnight sports camp for individuals ages 8 – 21. Camp sessions are offered in the summer and winter seasons providing not only athletic opportunities, but campers also gain the skills and resources needed to help them achieve success in all areas of life.
NWABA’s programs and services also provides access for all individuals who are blind and visually impaired at home and in schools, such as a video resource library that provides adaptive sports training to educators, athletes and their families; a free equipment lending library that includes audio-enabled and tactile sports equipment so participants can continue to practice and engage in physical activity; and online workouts available Monday-Friday with recorded sessions available, expanding access to all.
Due to statewide funding reductions, it’s even more important to support our athletes by participating in Give Big Washington. Any amount makes a difference and thanks to a generous matching donation, your gift will be DOUBLED during Give Big Washington!
Learn more about our programs and services at nwaba.org