Justin 'Judd' Goldman was 17 years old when he suffered a disabling bone disease. After realizing that there were few sports that he could participate in he discovered sailing. Over the next 58 years he competed successfully in many races throughout the world. Soon after Judd passed away, Judd's wife, Sliv, son Peter, and daughter Judy established the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation as a public/private partnership with the Chicago Park District in 1990.
The Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program (JGASP) includes classroom and on-water instruction for the physically disabled. The Foundation raises funds for instructor salaries, boats, and maintenance costs, while the Park District operates the program on a day-to-day basis. Today, the Adaptive Sailing Program consists of eight Freedom Independence 20s, eight Sonars, and four 2.4 meter sailboats. Over 1,000 participants experience the joy and independence of sailing each year.
'Because of the public/private partnership the Chicago Park District shares with the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, we are able to offer excellent on-the-water opportunities for the entire Chicago Community,' explained Joey Harris, Manager of Sailing Programs at Chicago Park District. 'Our partnership has allowed our sailing program to literally serve the entire community with a huge range of on-the-water opportunities and for everyone to participate on an even playing field.'
Peter Goldman concurs, 'Almost everyone that starts in our program has never sailed a day in their life. We’ve encountered many new sailors who have been hooked on sailing after recovering from an accident or a disease. We hear these people tell us that they were depressed and lonely before learning to sail and that the program has done so much to improve their lives.'
The Judd Goldman Sailing Program offers a huge range of programming, from grassroots learn-to-sail programs to recreational cruises to racing classes and clinics.
Goldman concluded, 'The end result is more people in an amazing lifelong sport that will help give them access to many more opportunities both on the water and off.'