CSUSB hosted its 11th annual Disability Sports Festival to promote physical activity for people everywhere, regardless of their disability.
Event director and 14-year CSUSB employee Yvonne Salmon said this event is an important day for the community and fulfills a need for those with disabilities.
“The reason we do this is that we believe that disability does not mean inability,” said Salmon. “We want every person to have the feeling that they can do anything. We want them to be encouraged and say ‘I can do this. I don’t have limitations.’”
According to Salmon, this event has gained enough popularity in the community for participants to request information about it months in advance because of their excitement for the festival.
Residents in the community expressed their excitement for the event, anticipating next year’s Disability Sports Festival.
Marcus Rivera, who has been in a wheelchair for over 20 years, says that this festival is one that he looks forward to year-round.
“I feel as though this festival is a gift from above,” said Rivera. “People with disabilities often get forgotten about and this day is a great way to show that Cal State San Bernardino really cares about us.”
Students and faculty alike participated in the event to make the festival possible. The CSUSB Assistant Basketball Coach, Bobby Tossetti, and his team played games of wheelchair-basketball with those with disabilities in the Coussoulis Arena.
“We want to put our guys in a position where they can help,” said Tossetti. “We want them to help less fortunate people so they can understand that they are in a position not everyone gets to be in.”
Hundreds of volunteers came to the event and showed their support for those with disabilities. One of the event volunteers, Christine Espeleta, believes that it is important for those more fortunate to understand more about those with disabilities in order to help.
“This day is for them, “said Espeleta. “These events were made for them to make them feel like they’re still a part of us and despite any differences they’re still human.”
The event took place in the Coussoulis Arena on campus where hundreds of people with disabilities came to participate in a wide range of sports and games. These included a variety of activities including martial arts classes, rock-climbing, soccer, wheelchair basketball, and even archery.
Many sponsors came and showed their support for the Disability Sports Festival including the LA Galaxy Street Team, LA Kings Street Hockey Team, and Monster Energy.
“I think it’s really important for them to have a day like this,” said Taylor Dizon, a CSUSB senior and event volunteer. “It makes them feel included and like they can get involved in things that they can actually participate in.”