Welcome to the UI Alumni Network

  Variety of Illinois President and attorney Linda Mastandrea and Mount Greenwood resident and Chicago Park District employee Dan Ferreira  

Dan Ferreira receives a Variety International Presidential Citation

Dan Ferreira receives a Variety International Presidential Citation

Mount Greenwood resident Dan Ferreira was recently received a Variety International Presidential Citation for his efforts on behalf of young people with disabilities. As a founding and active member of the Advisory Council for Variety of Illinois, Ferreira, the Adapted Sport Program & Event Facilitator for the Chicago Park District has helped shape Variety programs to best address the needs of boys and girls with disabilities so they can be active participants in all aspects of society and particularly competitive and recreational sports. As consequences of his engagement with Variety, six children received sports wheelchairs as part of the Kids on the Go program and nine youths attended a week-long wheelchair basketball camp at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as the result of the club’s Live to Achieve sports grants program. He has also weaved Variety of Illinois into the existing fabric of wheelchair sports in the community by helping the club celebrate the yearly International Persons with Disabilities Day as a partner for the Chicago Wheelchair Bulls annual Kids’ Day.

Dan is in a unique position to get youths with disabilities to dream and to pursue those dreams. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta  (brittle bone disease) in New Bedford, Massachusetts, he was introduced to wheelchair sports as a student at the Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton, Massachusetts at 15. After graduation, Dan headed to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) to study physical education and recreation and compete with UWW’s nationally renowned wheelchair basketball team. He graduated in 2001. He entered graduate school at UIUC, earned a master’s degree in sports management in 2003 and served as an assistant coach with the Fighting Illini wheelchair basketball teams. In 2006 the Chicago Park District hired him.

Ferreira is the personification  of the benefit of sports participation. “It has meant everything to me. I would not be where I am today without it.  It gave me the opportunity at post-secondary and graduate educations, great friends, and my future wife.  All would not have happened without sport.”

Dan coached the Chicago Sky Hawks prep wheelchair basketball team to a fourth place finish in the 16-team national tournament at Louisville this April. With basketball over, he keeps the players active by training them for the World Sport Chicago Track and Field Series and playing for the Junior Cubs wheelchair softball team.

Dan’s purpose is helping youngsters to realize their potential and to understand that their disability does not prevent them from living a full and productive life. He argues   Cs are average and they have the potential to be extraordinary, not average, if they work to reach their potential. When not coaching Dan finds time to practice with and play for the Chicago Wheelchair Bulls.


Variety – The Children's Charity of the United States is an association of 23 chapters throughout the country that empower local kids who are disabled and disadvantaged to live, laugh and learn. With the help of dedicated volunteers and generous individual and corporate supporters, Variety - The Children's Charity is able to expand the horizons of deserving children through three core programs: aids children with physical challenges whose families cannot afford, nor obtain through insurance, necessary mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, specially-designed adaptive bikes, and other mobility devices; takes youngsters with disabilities out into their communities for special excursions that are usually taken for granted – to the zoo, museum, skating rink, library, concerts, amusement parks, the circus, and fun-filled events like fishing, film festivals, special movie screenings and annual holiday party; and supports other local initiatives to benefit the children of the community, such as children’s hospitals, camps, boys’ and girls’ clubs, after school programs, literacy programs, educational scholarships and arts programs.



Share this story with other alumni and friends

 Facebook          LinkedIn


The University of Illinois Alumni Association is dedicated to connecting alumni and friends to positively impact the University of Illinois, its alumni, and its students.  Visit http://uiaa.org/illinois/membership/make_gift.html and support our work in connecting one global alumni family




© Copyright UI Alumni Network, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Alumni Development Software