Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 123 Slater Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.
Impact Hub Ottawa and the City of Ottawa have announced the winners of this year’s Ottawa Social Impact Awards. The Awards are a celebration of community leaders who are making Ottawa a more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city. This year was no exception: 42 Ottawa-based community initiatives, student-led projects, and social enterprises were nominated this year, over 22,000 people voted on who they felt were the most deserving, and three judges decided the winners in three categories: Social Enterprise, Community Initiative, and Future Leaders.
Ausome Ottawa, the Community Initiative winner, works with families touched by autism to play and be physically active like any typical family. The organization helps them adapt to the unique challenges that autism can present, this includes, but is not limited to:
- teaching kids with autism physical literacy skills – the skills they need to run, jump, throw, and play with others;
- training adults who support kids with autism in with specialized knowledge and skills for community sport and recreation (coaches, instructors, caregivers, educators); and,
- providing supported sports programs like soccer, basketball, gymnastics, water polo and more.
Ausome’s Founders, Liisa Vexler and Derek Firth, were finding that kids with autism were often not participating in organized sport. As they explored autism services in the region, they noted a lack of affordable and accessible sports programming for children with autism and their families. They decided to build the opportunity as a result.
“We have created something that was desperately needed and is much appreciated. We have served, and continue to serve, almost 200 children in the Ottawa area, and though our adult autism training program is less than a year old, we have trained over 100 adults to feel more confident including participants with autism in community sport and recreation. “ says Liisa.
Everyone in our community, including those touched by autism, should be able to enjoy sport and physical activity, free of barriers.
They could not have accomplished this alone. Ausome Ottawa is very grateful for the support they have received from the community, as well as from the Trillium Foundation, Unity for Autism, Ottawa Community Foundation and Goodlife Kids Foundation.
This year, Ausome will begin offering summer sports camps and are exploring some interesting partnership opportunities with local non-profits and businesses. They will also be expanding on their existing sports, physical literacy, and adult training programs. Ausome is always open to potential partnership opportunities, especially with those who share their vision of a world with an inclusive sport landscape.