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AceBuddies Hosting Zoo Day on September 24

Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2022

AceBuddies, a group fitness program for individuals with disabilities that is operated by Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students at the University of Evansville (UE), will host AceBuddies Zoo Day on Saturday, September 24, at Mesker Park Zoo. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon and is open to 50 individuals on a first come, first served basis. To register, please visit evansville.edu/ZooDay.  

During the event, participants will travel to various animal exhibits where they will then complete an exercise or activity based on the animal. Each participant will be paired with one DPT student who will assist with each exercise. Participants can bring one guardian with them to Zoo Day, who will follow the group throughout the event. 

AceBuddies organizers are hoping to spread awareness of their cause with this event, as they plan to launch regular AceBuddies sessions the following month on October 15. Each semester, six sessions are held on UE’s campus in Carson Center and are open to participants of all ages. The sessions are free of charge and do not require a physician referral. Licensed physical therapists supervise all DPT students that work closely with individuals during these fun and effective fitness sessions. AceBuddies meets on Saturday mornings for one hour, and participants are paired with the same DPT student to build a trusting relationship. AceBuddies is a branch of Ace CARE, a student-led pro bono organization that provides free PT and fitness opportunities to the community.

“This program provides incredible opportunities for our local community to access free, play-based fitness and for our DPT students to apply their skills in new ways,” said Kate Schwartzkopf-Phifer, DPT, PhD, OCS, CSCS, associate professor of physical therapy. “Together, they work hard to meet goals, improve function, gain confidence, and – above all – have fun.” 

The registration deadline is September 10, so parents or guardians are encouraged to sign up soon at evansville.edu/ZooDay. The event is generously sponsored by the Mattingly Foundation. 

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