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Corner Brook's Melissa Woods wants to make life more fun for those with physical, intellectual challenges

Melissa Woods of Corner Brook has started Active Living West NL, a new organization creating social activities for people living with physical and intellectual challenges.
Melissa Woods of Corner Brook has started Active Living West NL, a new organization creating social activities for people living with physical and intellectual challenges. - Gary Kean

Melissa Woods doesn’t let the challenges life has presented to her get in the way of having an active social life.

Now, she wants to help others be more active in their community too.

The Corner Brook woman, who has cerebral palsy, is putting her business studies to the test in forming a new community organization aimed at creating more social activities for people living with physical and intellectual challenges.

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She has already organized one event under the name Active Living West NL, a cooking class held at the Sobeys community room Friday. There were four participants besides Woods.

“I already knew three of them, but the fourth person saw the pamphlet we’ve been putting out as invitations,” she said during an interview Saturday.

Aiming to have at least one social activity per month to get things started, Woods is now planning a Halloween event for the Sobeys community room Oct. 30. That event will involve making Halloween crafts and having a lunch.

“I’m hoping everyone will dress up in costumes,” she said.

Future events could include meetings to learn various skills or just to play some games. She also envisions an exercise component that could involve outings to the gym, going for walks, or swimming.

Woods, who studied business administration at Academy Canada, has been getting help establishing her not-for-profit organization from the folks at the Navigate entrepreneurship centre at Grenfell Campus.

According to the research she has done, Woods estimated there are around 7,000 people in the Corner Brook and surrounding area who could benefit from participating in Active Living West NL activities. A survey she’s completed indicates many of these people want to see more opportunities to get together and have some fun.

“It means a lot to get out and be social,” she said. “But there isn’t a whole lot going on here (for people with physical and intellectual challenges).”

Woods is hoping the interest in Active Living West NL continues to grow and it not only attracts more participants, but also more volunteers, sponsors and venue providers to help keep it going and growing.

How to get involved:

If you are someone or know someone who would like to be a participant in Active Living West NL, or want to volunteer your time, provide a venue or offer expertise in a subject matter, contact Melissa Woods by phone at 388-1077 or via email at melissawoods253@gmail.com.

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