Almost 20 years ago, Sullivan County resident Faizool Ali says his life changed dramatically when one of his legs had to be amputated at age 24.
He says the experience made him seek opportunities to continue athletics, and he eventually became a championship wheelchair basketball player with the New York Rollin' Knicks.
But being in the Hudson Valley, he realized that there weren't similar opportunities available for youth in the area. That's why he founded Ali Adaptive Sports and Fitness, one of the dozens of groups featured at the Abilities First showcase in the Poughkeepsie Galleria on Saturday.
"Living in this community and having had found [wheelchair basketball] I know how drastically it could change someone's life and I wanted to be the one bringing it to these kids lives," said Ali.
Abilities First CEO Jeff Fox said exposing people to those types of possibilities is a main goal of the showcase.
"We try to open doors of opportunity for folks," said Fox. "For employment, for typical social relationships, to develop a community identity."