NEW GLOUCESTER — U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, has announced that Pineland Farms is one of 97 organizations in the U.S. selected to receive the Olympic Opportunity Fund. Grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 were provided to USOC partner organizations to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically and visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sport programs.
The grant will expand Pineland’s Veterans Adaptive Sports and Training program. Reaching out to disabled veterans, VAST seeks to increase participation of disabled veterans in sports and promote lifelong health and well-being. The program runs year-round and offers various sports, including cross-country skiing, biathlon, cycling, running and archery. Veterans and accompanying family members participating in the program also have access to Pineland Farms facilities and equipment throughout the season at no charge.
Noting what significant potential this programming has for Maine veterans and their families, Sen. Susan Collins wrote a letter of recommendation in support of Pineland’s application. Collins said, “The VAST program at Pineland Farms will not only provide disabled veterans with a wealth of adaptive sports offerings, it will also yield the stability and sense of place and purpose sought by many disabled veterans returning home from combat.”
“We are honored to receive an Olympic Opportunity Fund grant,” said Kristina Sabasteanski, director of Pineland’s VAST program and a two-time Olympic biathlete and 10-year veteran of the Army World Class Athlete Program. “The support of U.S. Paralympics and the USOC will leverage Pineland’s superb recreational assets in a way that will benefit those who have given so much for our country, veterans and their families.”
Pineland Farms will host a Veterans Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, featuring free recreational activities for all veterans and their families.
For more information visit www.pinelandfarms.org.