The grant of $2,500 provides seed money for Operation Health & Well-Being, a fitness initiative for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Today, Leominster, MA – Physical activity lowers the risk for many diseases and improves mental health, but fewer than half of U.S. adults with disabilities meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. For adults with IDD served by Aspire Living & Learning, the health benefits of physical activity are getting easier to access. Aspire is preparing to launch Operation Health & Well-Being, thanks in part to a grant from the Avidia Charitable Foundation.

“Disability shouldn’t be a roadblock to fitness. But many gyms and fitness classes aren’t designed to address the unique needs of people with disabilities. Operation Health & Well-being will fill that gap,” says Program Manager, Brad Battersby. Operation Health & Well-being will provide equitable, evidenced-based programming and coaching for people of all abilities. The program will focus on building strength, power, endurance, flexibility, and balance through a variety of exercises that meet each person’s goals and preferences.

The program is in its formative stages. Currently, a small group of people supported by Aspire are meeting daily to participate in a 30-minute chair exercise program that incorporates balls and weights. The universal design of the workout ensures that disabled and non-disabled adults can participate alongside one another. The next phase of the project will move Operation Health & Wellness to a local storefront, where the program can serve the public and offer classes for both adults and children.

“With the right opportunities and support, people can discover a passion for fitness that lasts a lifetime. Aspire is grateful to Avidia for supporting the development of this program,” noted CEO, Lou Giramma.


Aspire Living & Learning is a private, non-profit human service and educational organization, serving individuals in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland. We serve neurodiverse people who are discovering their passions, unlocking potential, and thriving. Media Contact: Judy Stermer | 802.505.0699 |


Avidia Awards Grant to Aspire Living & Learning for Fitness Program