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Harrisonburg center offers sports and mentorship for all abilities

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 8:14 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A local organization is working to ensure that all athletes have the opportunity to play sports.

Empowerment3 is a center for physical activity and wellness, based at James Madison University.

Dr. Thomas Moran is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at JMU and the Executive Director of Empowerment3. The mission of Empowerment3 stems from Moran’s personal experience overcoming barriers as an individual with cerebral palsy.

“My entire life, I was told I can’t play sports... because of my disability,” Moran said.

Moran did not take ‘no’ for an answer, serving the sports world as a coach and a physical education teacher before moving into higher education at JMU. Moran shared his mission as an athlete, professor, and mentor.

“No other person should miss out on the opportunities that I did... sport was that vehicle for me to realize what I was capable of,” he added.

Empowerment3 is nearing its tenth year offering support for local athletes in the Valley.

This Saturday, the center is hosting its Ability First Fall Extravaganza at the First Tee of Harrisonburg. The outdoor carnival is for people of all ages and ability levels, and JMU varsity athletes will be hosting sports clinics throughout the day.

“I truly hope people will come out and discover the abilities they didn’t realize they had,” Moran said.

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