Exercise as a Human Right: Providing Inclusive Physical Fitness Opportunities to People with IDD During the Pandemic and Beyond

View presentation on HealthMatters Program YouTube Playlist
Date and time: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 1:00 pm CDT
Duration: 1 hour and 3 minutes
Handout: Exercise as a Human Right Providing Inclusive Physical Fitness Opportunities to People with IDD During the Pandemic-Jared Ciner and David Godoy

Overview: Finding ways to engage people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in enriching activities, especially physically active ones, can be a challenge even without the realities of stay-at-home orders and limited community resources. Yet through partnership development and a transition to an online platform, SPIRIT Club, a community gym in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has opened the doors to inclusive fitness opportunities and engagement for people with IDD, their families, and the community-based organizations serving them. Today SPIRIT Club provides meaningful exercise activities to its members and agency partners across the country by offering hour long classes either aired live or available on demand, including yoga, Zumba, boxing, meditation, and three different types of fitness classes focusing on strength, balance and cardio. Classes are led by certified trainers and offer a beginner, seated, and challenge version of each exercise, creating an environment where everyone participates. With its commitment to serving the community, SPIRIT Club established a partner foundation that works to increase access to exercise for those with disabilities by overcoming whatever barriers may stand in the way. This webinar will introduce SPIRIT Club, it’s components and programs and give you information how to get involved.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the SPIRIT Club and its component.
  2. Obtain information on how to get involved and use SPIRIT Club in organizational programming.


Jared Ciner spent a summer of 2011 in Ethiopia volunteering at the Fregenet Foundation, organizing athletic programs for Ethiopian children from severely impoverished families. This experience helped him realize the positive impact that structured fitness could have on the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of those participating. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in Psychology, he received his personal trainer certification from NASM, and began working two jobs: one as a fitness trainer at a local gym, and the other as a Support Counselor for adults with disabilities, including autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy. In 2012, Jared founded SPIRIT Club, a fitness organization that provides specialized programs that accommodate people of ALL abilities including those with physical and developmental disabilities.

David Godoy David is a Fitness Demonstrator and Administrative Staff Member. David was born with cerebral palsy and has faced many challenges and obstacles along the way. He did not let it stop him from achieving his goals and dreams. He wanted to have a job and be an example to others. He was persistent and determined to find employment. His courage and determination continues to thrive and as a result he found a beautiful home called SPIRIT Club. Today David leads exercises for SPIRIT Club’s virtual programming 3 days a week. He is a true example to others, on and off the screen.


COVID-19 Webinar Series is presented by the HealthMatters Program, Department of Disability and Human Development, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago with continued partnership with Project SEARCH, a leader in securing competitive employment for people with disabilities based at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and with Aspire an Illinois organization providing services to children and adults with developmental disabilities, their families and their communities.


  • There is no cost for these webinars.
  • CEUs are not offered for these webinars.
  • Webinars and materials will be recorded and archived on YouTube.
  • For disability accommodations email Jasmina Sisirak (jsisirak@uic.edu) at least 10 days before the webinars.
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