ST. CHARLES – Power Athletics owner David Brown has seen what those with special needs can accomplish.
St. Charles East High School graduate Chris Chavez, who has ADHD and autism, took home two gold and two silver medals at the National Special Olympics in Seattle in July. He has been training at the Power Athletics facility at Charlestowne Mall for the past two years.
Brown wants other individuals with special needs to realize their potential. His nonprofit organization, Power Athletics Wellness, will hold a free fitness event for special needs individuals from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 4 at its facility at Charlestowne Mall, located at 3800 E. Main St. in St. Charles.
"The reason for the nonprofit is for us to be able to provide fitness to as many individuals as we can, especially the ones in the special needs community who can't afford it," Brown said. "Putting on this event is a way for us to reach as many special needs kids as possible."
The purpose of the event is to assess the need for fitness and recreational activities for those with special needs, such as autism, Down syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, ADHD and others, in order to create permanent classes for these individuals.
Seeing what Chavez could accomplish helped Brown realize the potential of special needs individuals.
"They are capable of anything and everything," he said.
The event will be structured similar to circuit or station-based fitness classes with Power Athletics Wellness’ own Star Therapeutic Exercise Program. It will be lead by PA Wellness' certified, licensed trainers and a host of volunteers on hand for the event.
Stretching and warm ups during the event will be conducted by Chavez. Sandra Chavez, the mother of Chris Chavez, is handling registration for the event. Those interested in attending the event can contact her at 630-336-4422 or Chavan21@comcast.net or go to the website, PAWellness.org.
The event has been generating a lot of interest, Brown said.
"I'm thinking that for the first event, we're going to get anywhere from 100 to maybe 150 kids," he said. "That's what we're shooting for."
Plans are to hold a monthly free fitness event for special needs individuals. While Power Athletics is currently located at Charlestowne Mall, the gym plans to move to a new building in St. Charles.
"We're going to move the location out of the mall into a new 30,000-square-foot facility," Brown said. "Once we get into the new location, the STEP program is going to be something we offer three times a week. We will be able to serve more special needs kids."