Volunteers Coach Youth With Disabilities in Sports, Exercise

For almost three decades, some young people in the D.C. area with developmental and physical disabilities have benefited from an organization providing exercise classes for them.

Volunteer Karen Migdail has been involved with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) since its founding in 1992, helping transform the way people see teens and young adults with disabilities and how they see themselves.

Working with KEEN is her calling.

“Ironically, I was looking for something to do on an occasional basis,” she said.

She quickly found she loved the program and everything for which it stands.

“Just shows what people with disabilities can do and what KEEN can help them achieve,” she said.

They do it all: gym, sports programs, swimming, basketball and even Zumba.

Migdail has coached hundreds of athletes. The goal is for them to realize they can do anything.

“We’re their coaches,” she said. “They’re athletes. This is a moment where they get to shine as athletes.”

And the families don't pay for anything.

Parents say the program really gives their kids a confidence boost.

“She doesn’t have many words, but we can tell that she enjoys it and she looks forward to it,” one mother said.

“These families are an incredible inspiration to me, and to me, working with them, they’re heroes, I’m not,” Migdail said. “I’m having fun.”

She encourages others to volunteer as well.

“You will love these families, so come and volunteer,” she said.

Reported by Leon Harris, produced by Michelle Montgomery and edited by Scott Eisenhuth.

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