Fishing Club At Bedford's Edinburg Center Helps People With Disabilities

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Starnes

BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Edinburg Center, a nonprofit that serves people with mental health conditions and disabilities, is helping individuals connect with their community and learn valuable life lessons through their fishing club.

The Edinburg Center was established in 1977, and since then their mission has expanded to include supporting people with a variety of mental health conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and brain injuries.

The nonprofit provides resources, programs, and services to over 3,000 children and adults every year, promoting personal growth and independence.

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One of their programs is the Meaningful Whole Life program, which provides individualized services to participants “driven by his or her hopes, wishes, dreams and desires” and culminates with a personalized care plan.

“We ask our members, ‘How can we help you? What do you want to do to live a meaningful whole life?’” said Chris Starnes, who works at the Edinburg Center.

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Starnes

The fishing club is part of this program, and, along with the Edinburg Center’s other initiatives, it helps “adults who have acquired brain injuries, or adults who are living and thriving with mental health conditions,” he added.

Starnes explained that fishing is a unique learning experience for practicing patience. “Not every time you’re going out you’re going to catch fish, right?”

Also, the fishing club helps individuals who are dealing with intellectual or developmental disabilities to participate "in activities and engagements that we take for granted.”

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Starnes

Through the Edinburg Center's fishing club, participants have caught trout, bass, sunfish, and other fish in bodies of water around Bedford and Woburn.

Starnes shared the impact the club has had on one participant’s experience. “We had one person… who had never gone fishing before. In year one, [she] couldn’t even touch a worm. She’s like, ‘I’m not touching that. There’s no way.’ At the end of year two of the fishing club, she caught 22 fish that season.”

Other seasonal engagement activities through the program include yoga, art lessons, and museum visits.

WBZ NewsRadio's Jay Willett (@JayWillettWBZ) reports.

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