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L.A. Matheson Secondary student/budding hockey player Georgia Menzies takes a slap shot on net, while (below, with ball) Yuto Miyazaki, a student at Earl Marriott Secondary, dodges the competition during a game of soccer at the 2019 AIM Games.
Johnston Heights Secondary was abuzz with excitement – and plenty of action – as more than 250 secondary students and about 150 volunteers hit the playing fields, gymnasiums, theatre, dance studio, weight room and tennis courts for the 15th-annual Athletes in Motion (AIM) Games.
Hosted by Johnston Heights Secondary, this year's event attracted participants of varying abilities from all 20 Surrey secondary schools for a day of collaborative sport and recreation.
The event, founded by Johnston Heights phys-ed teacher and Adapted Physical Activity program coordinator Deb Murin, invites youth to show off their abilities and hone their skills, overcome barriers, set goals and build strengths, while simultaneously challenging the perspectives, misunderstandings and myths about people with disabilities.
Inside Johnston Heights, students took part in martial arts, weight training, dance, various wheelchair sports, boccia and yoga, while outside were games of soccer, hockey, basketball and softball.
"It is intended to create a safe space for all youth to explore their talents, play and find commonalities," says Murin, the sole coordinator of the AIM Games, with the assistance of Shannon Milross, a youth care worker at Salish Secondary. "I move it to a different host school every year in order for students all around our district to be host of the games, which celebrate abilities through play, as well as highlight the tremendously talented instructors from local sport organizations."
Besides being a health and fun experience, the games are also instrumental in exposing students and their families to community organizations that provide programming for youth with disabilities. The organizations involved with this year's AIM Games included:
Semiahmoo House Society
Unique Get Together Society
Centre for Child Development
BC Wheelchair Basketball Society
BC Wheelchair Sports Association
Sport Medicine Council of BC
Surrey FC Pegasus
As happens each year, the day included an athlete procession, opening and closing ceremonies, guest speaker and presentation of medals to participants.