Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- September 26, 2001

Cal Poly Professor's 'Adaptive Paddling' Program Wins Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Award

A Cal Poly kinesiology professor's program to introduce the disabled to kayaking has won recognition from a national foundation.

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) has awarded Kevin Taylor a $5,000 Quality of Life award. The money will be used to buy kayaks and supplies for Taylor's "Adaptive Paddling Program," designed to introduce the freedom of open-water kayaking to people with disabilities.

Taylor developed the program in 1999 using borrowed equipment and volunteer instructors.

As part of Taylor's "service-learning" classes, Cal Poly students work one on one with participants, teaching them to paddle a kayak safely, first in the university's indoor swimming pool, then in the open waters of the Morro Bay estuary.

"Learning to paddle and giving people who are mobility impaired the freedom to explore oceans, lakes and streams through kayaking can be incredibly empowering and is a potentially life-changing experience," Taylor said.

The program is offered in collaboration with SLOCO Access, a community-based group dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people with disabilities on the Central Coast.

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation was formed in 1999 as a result of a merger between the American Paralysis Association and the Christopher Reeve Foundation. The foundation recognizes organizations that help improve opportunities, access and day-to-day quality of life for families and individuals living with disabilities. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $390,000 in Quality of Life grants to 34 organizations.

The nonprofit CRPF supports research to develop effective treatments and a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and other central nervous system disorders.

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