One of the most unique aspects of the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU is the opportunity to provide students with a year of real-world experience while simultaneously earning a master’s degree. Each Friday, we will be showcasing one of our current students, highlighting their graduate assistantship within the Richmond sports community.
The season of giving is here and what better way to celebrate than to learn a little bit about Alison Zacharias and her GA position with Sportable. Sportable provides sport and recreational opportunities for those with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Alison is a program assistant and primarily helps the small staff (only 3 full time!) with program and event development to help put on events such as Paralympic experience days and the 12 sports that the organization supports during the year.
Zacharias was an exercise science major at her undergraduate university, UNCW, for which she took an adaptive physical education class where she fell in love with working with those with special needs in the sports field. Her senior year she worked with the only adaptive physical education teach in Wilmington and after graduation she was one of four interns to work with Challenge Aspen, Colorado, to provide similar help to her position at Sportable.
So far, Zacharias has had an eventful experience at Sportable, but has a couple of favorite moments. She was able to help put on a Hampton Roads Paralympic Experience Day where she found athletes/participants, reached out to vendors, and programmed the day’s events.
“It was really exciting for me because this event really became like a baby to me, I spent so much time and effort in the months leading up to make it successful and to see the impact that it made on the people who attended which made it worthwhile.”
Zacharias was also able to run in the HCA Va 8k with a Sportable athlete who she says was determined to run the race, “Seeing how our athletes persevere through their obstacles is what really makes this experience special to me.” Zachararias believes her assistantship has shown her all the possibilities the sport industry has to offer and has given her confidence to take on responsibilities, which will help her succeed in the future.