Free yoga class at URI April 22 open to children with disabilities, caregivers

Physical therapy students organizing Calmotion as a leadership project

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KINGSTON, R.I., March 16, 2017 — Kelsey Lotti and Victoria Ramos, physical therapy doctoral students at the University of Rhode Island, have channeled their passion for working with children into a fun and healthy event for local families.

The students have organized a free yoga class on April 22 for children ages 7 to 9 who have a disability — whether physical, mental or developmental — and their adult caregivers. The event, called Calmotion, will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Tootell Physical Education Center Group Exercise Studio, 75 Keaney Road, Kingston Campus and will be led by a certified yoga teacher.

Lotti and Ramos began exploring ideas for the event last year as part of a leadership project required by the Department of Physical Therapy doctoral program, part of the College of Health Sciences/Academic Health Collaborative. They researched types of exercise and learned that yoga provides great benefits to children with disabilities. “We wanted to offer something fun that they could do together that is also beneficial for them,” said Lotti, of South Yarmouth, Mass. “We want the families to have a positive experience.”

The partner yoga class is limited to 30 people — 15 children and 15 adults. Adult participants can be a family member, friend or professional caregiver. Online registration closes March 24.

Participants will leave the event with an informational packet that includes instructions for poses they can do at home. “It would be nice if they could take what they learn and incorporate it into daily life,” said Ramos, of North Scituate.

The students are promoting Calmotion at local schools, pediatricians’ offices and through the South County Chamber of Commerce. They visited local businesses to solicit sponsorships to defray the cost of purchasing bottled water, yoga mats and possibly event T-shirts. Once supplies are covered, all proceeds will benefit A Wish Come True, a Warwick-based charitable organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.