There is little wonder Dylan Littlehales is among the Paralympians making an impact by sharing their experiences with school students nationally as part of the Paralympic Education Program (PEP).
Delivered by Paralympics Australia in partnership with Australian Beef, the Paralympic Education Program provides a range of free online curriculum-linked resources for Australian classes focusing on Paralympic values.
Launched in February, the Program has only gathered momentum despite the COVID-19 pandemic with virtual classrooms hosted by Paralympians continuing to inspire and engage primary and high school classes.
For Littlehales, his involvement is a meaningful way for him to promote the Paralympic movement and to give back to the wider community which he acknowledges “has given so much to me to help me get where I am.”
The Para-canoeist joined PA’s Education Manager and fellow Paralympian Jenny Blow (goalball) to deliver a virtual classroom to students from Melbourne’s Ashwood School recently, and spoke passionately about goal-setting and resilience.
Littlehales was just 17 and still a high school student when he made his Paralympic debut at the Rio Games in 2016, and knows all too well the pressures associated with juggling multiple priorities at such a young age.
“It’s a great experience for me to be able to share my story and hopefully it’s helping kids to build on their own stories by giving them the opportunity to ask questions about how I got to where I am,” Littlehales said.
“The kids [at Ashwood School] asked me lots of questions about my career so far and the way I’ve been training during COVID-19. It’s been about being able to adapt and finding new ways to make the best of the situation.
“For me, it’s about enjoying what you do and setting goals along the way.”
Asked what his main goal was during his involvement with the Paralympic Education Program, Littlehales’ response was without hesitation.
“I want to give back to the community and help the next generation be the best they can be,” he said. “My community has given me so much to help me get where I am. And I want to do more to help others achieve their dreams.”
Virtual classrooms continue to be held with athletes delivering them across three states later this week.
To register your interest for the Paralympics Australia Virtual Classrooms (available now) or The Greatness Roadshow (school visits coming in 2021), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tim Mannion, Paralympics Australia