Social Opportunities & Active Recreation, Inc. (SOAR) was established, as a 501(c)(3), in 2015 to strengthen the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities in Glynn and McIntosh Counties. Specifically, SOAR focuses on providing athletic, social and recreational opportunities for their consumers. An in-depth study of the local community concluded that opportunities for citizens with developmental disabilities (outside of the public school system) were lacking. Surveys from parents and caregivers revealed an overwhelming need. SOAR was established to fill this void. Its active board of directors is committed to SOAR’s vision: “Citizens with developmental disabilities will have access to enriching and engaging activities within the community, much like their non-disabled peers.”
This volunteer-run program facilitates linking adults with developmental disabilities (SOAR Club members) with community partners such as businesses, churches and civic clubs. SOAR collaborates with its community partners by co-sponsoring social, recreational and leisure activities for SOAR Club members. This program not only provides enriching and inclusive opportunities for SOAR Club members, but also acts as a vehicle for community entities to forge relationships with their neighbors with developmental disabilities. SOAR's brand - Together, We SOAR - is based on its core belief in promoting an inclusive community.
SOAR continually recruits club members and community partners to join the SOAR Network.
SOAR employs an activities coordinator whose primary responsibility is to collaborate with Special Olympics Coastal Georgia to coordinate the Special Olympics program in Glynn and McIntosh Counties. This program serves 526 athletes and provides year-round practices and opportunities to participate in local, regional and state games. For more information about the Special Olympics program in Glynn and McIntosh Counties call (912) 602-8077 or visit www.socga.org.
In July, 2016, SOAR hosted the iCan Bike camp which is a program that teaches individuals with disabilities to ride a two-wheeled bicycle using specialized instruction and adapted equipment. This project was life-changing for the 30 participants who had never been able to successfully ride a bicycle like their non-disabled peers. For example, one of the riders now has the means to transport himself to work, and others are able to go out into their neighborhoods and ride with their families and friends.
SOAR is seeking funding to host the iCan Swim camp in July, 2017. This camp is structured much like the iCan Bike program with the overall goal of teaching people with disabilities how to safely enjoy aquatic recreation, promoting as much independent movement in the water as possible. Each swimmer will have his or her own unique goals ranging from introduction to water exploration to skill refinement for preparation to join a Special Olympics, Paralympic or other swim team. More information can be found at icanshine.org.