We’re proud of all of the ASA affiliates for the value and energy they put towards quality education, but there are a few that are particularly special and should be singled out and recognized – Shake a Leg in Miami is one such organization and we’re about to tell you why…
For over 25-years Shake-A-Leg, in association with the city of Miami, has utilized the marine environment to improve the health, education, and independence of people with disabilities, disadvantaged youth and their families, so says there mission statement. The non-profit organization was founded in 1990 by Harry Horgan who was paralyzed from an automobile accident and found sailing as a means of regaining his independence and improving his mental outlook. Since then, Horgan has been creating programs and providing rehabilitation solutions for thousands of people looking to become more active and improve their lives. Many disabled people have found sailing as the perfect sport to explore and enjoy. By virtue of a boat’s design, many handicapped sailors can have a very similar experience as an able-bodied person and for a time be somewhat relieved of the separation and yoke of the given constraint. With the appropriate modifications a boat can be managed and well-sailed by a handicapped skipper and crew.
In fact, Shake-A-Leg is currently working in cooperation with the Impossible Dream organization that is built around a custom made 60-foot catamaran designed for disabled sailors. It should be noted the letters “I” & “m” of Impossible are crossed out in the boat’s name. The specialized multihull once crossed the Atlantic with famous wheelchair bound skipper Geoff Holtz at the helm and recently was in the news when former President George H.W. Bush visited the vessel and took a sail in the Atlantic. Bush, 91, who is very often in a wheelchair himself, steered the Impossible Dream for most of the trip utilizing the controls that are custom made for a person in a wheelchair.
It’s organizations like Impossible Dream and Shake-A-Leg that inspire and remind us how special sailing is. Through these kinds of programs and these kinds of boats, so many disabled people find purpose, regain confidence and find their own inspiration through the feeling that only sailing can give. We’re delighted that Shake-A-Leg is part of our network and hope those in the Miami area support them with their time and generosity.
For information about Shake-A-Leg, visit www.shakealegmiami.org
For information about Impossible Dream, visit impossibledream.us