All People’s Life Center Newsletter: January 2022 Adaptive Sports As a signature program of Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, the mission of Hillsborough County Adaptive Sports program is to promote health, independence and personal growth through sports for people with physical disabilities. Hillsborough County Adaptive Sports provides year-round sports and recreation programs that promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and recreational and competitive sports opportunities for area children and adults with physical disabilities. ★ We have over 300 athletes participate in at least one program or event each year ★ We offer ongoing programs for athletes at all levels, from recreational to competitive elite, in multiple sports such as wheelchair basketball, track and field, tennis, swimming, and archery Interested in participating in HC Adaptive Sports? Complete this form. Contact For additional information, email Mary Cales or call (813) 416-0467. ATHLETES IN THE SPOTLIGHT Meet Momo: Momo was born in Xi’an China. She was taken to an orphanage when she was 8 weeks (about 2 months) old. I met Momo when she was 16 weeks (about 3 and a half months) old and knew immediately that we were destined to be together. While her dad was working in China I was volunteering in her orphanage. Momo came to live with us for a few days a week when she was 9 months old and was allowed to live with us all the time when she was 22 months (about 2 years) old. Her adoption however was not completed until after her 3rd birthday. We moved back to the United States in July 2010. Momo was missing her right hand and forearm, upon arriving in the US we contacted the orthopedic doctor to find out what her diagnosis was and why her arm was amputated. Momo was born without her arm because of amniotic band syndrome. The doctors suggested swimming as an activity to keep Momo strong on both sides of her body. Typically, people with one arm use it for everything and either wear it out and /or have one side of their body that is strong and one side that is weak. We signed her up for swimming lessons immediately. She did very well and by week three she jumped off the high diving board, she was 4 years old then. Momo continued to take swimming lessons for the next two summers. Then she began to swim with a team in Indiana where we lived. After moving to Florida, we again sent her to swimming lessons and at age 8 she joined the Kissimmee Swim associations Tiger Sharks swim team. She has been swimming competitively ever since. Momo has had some exciting swimming opportunities including swimming for the USA Zone team in 2019. She also swam for the Paralympic world series in Texas in April 2021 and most recently she swam in the Paralympic National Championship meet in Greensboro N.C. in December 2021. To swim in a Paralympic meet, one must first be classified according to the disability. Momo is classified as an S9. In other words, as I understand it, she can use 90% of her body. Then you must qualify with times in each event. Momo has met all the time standards for the Can Am times which are used to qualify for this event. Momo swam 6 events at this meet, 100 meter free, 100 meter back, 100-meter breast, 100-meter fly, 200-meter IM (individual medley) and 400 meter free. She qualified as a finalist in all her swims except the 100 Back where she was the alternate. It was the most exciting meet. Momo was the B finals champion in the 100 breaststroke and swam the A finals in the 200 IM and the 100 free. Finishing 7th and 8th respectively according to the World Point Rankings. Other finishes were also impressive with the 100 fly being 11 in the world and the 400-freestyle 15th. Momo swam with many Olympians who had recently returned from Tokyo. It was an honor and a thrill to swim at the Paralympic National Championship meet. Momo said “It's such an honor to be given the opportunity like this where I can actually compete against the best of the best from the US and other countries. Honestly the camaraderie and atmosphere is always comforting. All you are there to do is compete, do your best, and survive until the next day. It is the greatest and only chance to see myself compete against others with my times and the same ability level, something you cannot do at any regular club USA swim meets. Getting into the A finals for the 200 IM and the 100 Free and being the B Final champion was so exciting for me. At the end of the day I am just trying to better my times and receive a win sometimes.” Meet Carlos: Carlos Quintanilla Jr. is an athlete that uses a wheelchair but says he hasn't let it slow him down in accomplishing his lifelong dream to play professional basketball. In 2020 his team, the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs, won the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship. Scouts later reached out to Carlos and selected him to play professionally for a team in Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy. "It's always been my dream. I knew at some point that I was going to get it, just didn't know when," said Quintanilla. ''I think that I'm one of those people that was born different and I have the opportunity to make a difference and I'm grateful." During his day job at All People's Life Center, he works with children that are also living with disabilities. "Never give up, always look up" are inspirational words he tattooed on his arm and encourages his students to live by. "I'm going to miss the connection I have with these kids," said Carlos, who will be moving to Italy this month. Watch Carlos Quintanilla Jr.'s story on Bay News 9. CURRENT PROGRAMS ❖ Monday ➢ Special Olympics Basketball (6:30pm-8:00pm) ❖ Tuesday ➢ Special Olympics Bocce (4:30pm-5:30pm) ➢ Adaptive Sports Archery (5:30pm-7:00pm) ❖ Wednesday ➢ Veteran’s Walking Club (10:00am) ➢ Special Olympics Cycling (4:00pm-5:30pm) ➢ Strong Dogs Practice (6:00pm-9:00pm) ❖ Thursday ➢ Adaptive Sports Volleyball (5:30pm-6:30pm) ➢ Special Olympics Volleyball (6:30pm-8:00pm) ❖ Friday ➢ Veteran’s Archery (8:30pm-10:00am) ➢ Strong Dogs Practice (6:00pm-9:00pm) UPCOMING EVENTS ❖ January 22: Sit Volleyball Clinic with USA Coach Elliot Blake ❖ February 12: Spree for All: All People’s Life Center @ 8:30 am ❖ February 17: Veteran’s Pickleball Clinic: All People’s Life Center (11:00am-1:00pm) ❖ February 18-19: Wheelchair Basketball Tournament: University of Alabama ❖ February 18-19: Special Olympics State Basketball ❖ February 26-27: Strong Dogs Wheelchair Basketball Invitational ❖ March 4-6: Quad Rugby Tournament: All People’s Life Center ❖ March 12: Para Swim Coaches and Athletes Clinic ➢ Program ran by Para Coach- Peggy Ewald VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Hillsborough County sports are based upon seven guiding principles: everyone plays, safety first, fair play, positive competition, sports for all, sports for fun, and family involvement. Our leagues are supported by parent volunteers who are engaged as coaches, referees, and fans. If you are interested in being a volunteer this season, please fill out the Volunteer Application and we will be happy to send you the necessary paperwork to become a cleared volunteer. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mary Cales CalesM@hillsboroughcounty.org or Troy Stewart at Stewartwt@hillsboroughcounty.org.