In October 2008, John Mallory, a Judo instructor, from Saint John began teaching weekly Judo classes to residents at the Portage rehabilitation centre at Cassidy Lake. An extremely successful program, it is now incorporated into the regular structure and schedule at the centre.
The therapeutic benefits of the program are not lost on participants. “Judo makes me feel great,” states one. “Not only does it help me relieve stress, but it also teaches self-control and discipline, which I can apply to everyday life.”
The Judo program also helps residents practice the teamwork skills that they have learned at Portage, all the while getting some exercise and letting off a little steam. After three months, participants can earn their first belt, which they are awarded at a special ceremony.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me and has taught me a lot about persistence,” said a resident at a belt ceremony. “I plan to continue Judo after my program at Cassidy Lake to keep me busy and active.”
Currently about ten to fifteen residents can participate in the program at any time. Portage Cassidy Lake is trying to get more Tatami mats in order to expand the program.