Portland-based nonprofit offers physical activity, personal connection for adults with special needs

Every Body Athletics has offered physical activity and personal connection to hundreds of adults with special needs now for six years.
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 6:28 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - From in-person to Zoom and back together again, Every Body Athletics has been a Portland-based nonprofit offering physical activity and personal connection to hundreds of adults with special needs now for six years.

The good times roll at Every Body Athletics.

“I always leave EBA in a better mood,” said Morgan Boddy, Liberty High School alum, who will compete in cross country and track at Pacific University. “EBA really focuses on building social connections, so answering questions during warmups before every station makes you build bonds with everybody who comes to EBA.”

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Ryan Guthrie, 25, raves about this special place of exercise and inclusion.

“Being in EBA is awesome because you see people that you know, people that you really miss the most, you get to see them again and it makes you so happy,” Guthrie said.

Taylor Alderman is EBA’s happy-go-lucky college summer intern. The Gonzaga kid got started volunteering with the 6-year-old nonprofit program during her time at Tigard High School.

“If you are bad day and you come into EBA, all your worries just go away,” Alderman said. “It’s just such a positive and welcoming environment.”

The EBA gang meets weekly for hour-long workouts to get stronger, build confidence and connect with friends.

“Finding ways to communicate with them is one of the big things here because a lot of them maybe aren’t verbal, so figuring out ways that work for them and having conversations to facilitate friendships here is exactly what my major is focused on,” said Kristiana Saldana, Tigard High School alum.

Saldana, a student at University of Oregon, began with EBA during her soccer playing days at Tigard.

“It would just change my whole perspective and whole week,” she said.

All eight Every Body Athletics locations offer assistance in social and physical needs for those post-high school aged adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, linked up with those much needed and much loved volunteer teammates.

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“We have high school students, college kids, adults, and they all sort of get something different out of it,” said Paige Knutson, EBA program manager. “Whether they are coming in for service hours in high school or they are coming in to spend their afternoons in a positive environment or our adults who are coming in to give back to their community that they have lived in for so long, I think there is so much to get out of being a part of EBA.”

If you want to be an EBA volunteer, you can sign up here. They could use more help in the fall as a lot of the kids go back to college and high school.