ServiceNet’s Enrichment Center and Holyoke Rows Work Together to Make Rowing Accessible for All

For Carol, the freedom of gliding across the water as she rows the Connecticut River is one of her favorite experiences. But as an individual who sustained a traumatic brain injury as a child, Carol’s use of a wheelchair and other mobility issues made activities like rowing inaccessible to her for many years. Thanks to Holyoke Rows, the exhilaration and joy of rowing is something she—and many others in the community — can engage in regularly.   

Holyoke Rows is a non-profit community boathouse with a mission to make rowing accessible to all community members, no matter the challenge. They offer the only adaptive rowing program in western Massachusetts for people with disabilities, which they run with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). 

For the past several years, ServiceNet’s Enrichment Center, a day program that helps people with brain injuries become more functional and engaged with others, has been working with Holyoke Rows to bring interested participants to the boathouse.  

For Carol and others, being on the water is a great joy. As is competing in the yearly BAYADA Regatta, the first regatta to focus solely on adaptive rowing and open to athletes with physical disabilities from around the globe. This year, Carol has her eyes set on getting the gold, which fuels her motivation even more. She especially loves training with Stephanie Moore, the director of Holyoke Rows.  

For Tiffany Carter, director of the Enrichment Center, fostering these kinds of relationships and passions is at the heart of the work.  

“It’s about feeling good and being a part of something no matter your challenges,” Tiffany says. “These personal and physical connections, the excitement of training, and the connection to nature are all vital to ensuring individuals live their lives to the fullest. Even in the winter, participants can still come and practice indoors. It’s a wonderful outlet and opportunity in our community.” 

Connections like the one with Holyoke Rows are vital to much of the Enrichment Center’s work. In 2022, the Center won a Healthcare Hero award from BusinessWest and Healthcare News for their collaboration with local higher education institutions. As the Enrichment Center gears up to celebrate its 10th anniversary this fall, they continue to seek out opportunities to work with various organizations and individuals. The Center is currently undergoing a significant remodel and will host an open house as part of its anniversary celebration in the coming months.   

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