Winona State, YMCA partnership teaches activity for all abilities

An area partnership is working to help spread the message that physical activity is for people of all abilities.

Winona State University is teaming up with the Winona Area YMCA as part of the Physical Activity for Life, Learning and Love — or “PALs” — program.

The partnership is working to teach kids with disabilities things like swimming to get them active and teach them lifelong skills.

“It’s mostly about fun, and we think through individualized instruction, some group instruction, teaching them independence, teaching them some social skills, hopefully they’ll have fun learning about aquatics, but it’s mostly about having fun and being physically active,” said Winona State associate professor Manny Felix.

As part of the program, students from Winona State’s School of Education also get a chance to gain some first-hand experience in working with special needs students.

Right now about 12 kids take part in the year-round program.