The Philippine Accessible Disability Services (PADS) Adaptive Dragon Boat Racing Team won a total of four Gold Medals in the 13th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) Club Crew World Dragon Boat Racing Championships held in Sarasota, Florida, USA. The team won the Gold on the following categories: 2000 meters PD2 category; 500m PD2 category; 200m PD1 category; and 200m PD2 category.
PADS is an organization that aims to enable persons with disabilities (PWDs) to grow and develop as independent, integrated, and empowered citizens in society. “Dragon boat racing allows equal opportunity for all athletes, with or without disabilities. When we are all seated, no one can tell which paddler has a disability or not because we all look at the same cues, feel the same drum beat and row with the same strength,” said Team Manager and PADS Executive Director John Paul Maunes.
SM Cares supported the team during their Manila preparations last July 4-8, 2022 by treating the athletes with accommodations at Heritage Hotel Manila and a “Fun Day at the Mall” tour at SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall and S’Maison. In partnership with MOA Food Hall, SM Cinema, SM by the BAY Storyland, and SM Southmall Game Park, the team enjoyed full board meals and a number of activities like movie screenings, theme park rides, indoor sports and tours.
The athletes were treated to PWD-friendly dining experiences featuring internationally inspired cuisines from Tsukemen, Easy Tiger, Frankie’s, Porque, Sea Salt, and Lugang Café, as well as a number of inclusive activities ranging from movie screenings of Jurassic World Dominion and Thor: Love and Thunder, to theme park rides including the iconic MOA Eye, to indoor sports such as SM Bowling, billiards, archery, and ping-pong, with snacks provided by Taters.
To further support the team ahead of their international tournament, SM Cares also provided aqua shoes and vacuum flask tumblers for use of each paddler. SM Supermalls Senior Vice President for Operations and SM Cares Program Lead for the Committee on Persons with Disabilities Bien Mateo led the handover ceremony.
“SM has always been an advocate of PWD inclusion, which is why we are very honored to host the PADS Adaptive Dragon Boat Racing Team. This is our way of saying thank you for the pride that you continue to give to our country and is also a way to let everyone know that #YoureAlwaysWelcomeHere,” Mateo said.
The PADS Paradragon Team partnership and Fun Day at the Mall tour is just one of the many programs of SM Cares that caters to the PWD sector. The activity also supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly “SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being”, and “SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities.”
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, with programs that support communities, promote social inclusion, and care for the environment. Aside from the program on PWDs, its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.
To learn more, visit www.smsupermalls.com/smcares.