Putting on a brand new uniform for the first game of the season, trying on gear like helmets and baseball gloves, seeing the field for the first time from a dugout box rather than the stands. These are details most children take for granted as they focus more on what position they are playing or what team they have to beat. Statistics show that roughly 14% of children in the U.S. have a developmental disability. These children aren’t guaranteed the ability to compete at the same level as children without disabilities and are sometimes left without the opportunity to play in regular sports leagues. Can you imagine how much meaning a brand new uniform would have to this child?
An awesome organization in the River Valley, “For the Fences”, has provided an answer, an opportunity for children with special needs to be able to participate in America’s favorite pastime. They have partnered with volunteers in the commuinty to allow these children to have the same experiences that others do in a baseball game. And not only the children, but the parents, as they get the chance to sit on the bleachers and cheer for their child like everyone else.
For the Fences is a non-competitive baseball league for children and young adults with special needs. They play a six week season in the spring meeting on Saturday’s at 10am at a ball field in Lamar.
They gladly accommodate everything from high functioning autism spectrum disorder to cerebral palsy to down syndrome and everything in between. “Canes, crutches or wheelchairs bring them all!!!!”. You will find that charismatic invitation both on their website: http://forthefences3.wixsite.com/forthefences and Facebook page “For the Fences”. They also carry a vision statement, “Our goal is to bring local children the same benefits that are provided in the larger cities with more resources and to give them a place to enjoy the sports they love for years to come.”
Each child is paired with a volunteer partner to ensure they get the best experience possible. One volunteer from our Journey Clarksville Campus, Becky Noonan says, “I just love what is represented and the barriers it breaks through. I’ve always raised my children to just love others, no matter where they are or who they are. This organization gives us the opportunity to live that out and I especially love that my whole family does it together!”
High fives, beaming smiles, bear hugs and wheelchairs that become the legs of Mark Trumbo…These are the things you will see on a cool spring morning in a little town in the River Valley where kids get to just be kids as they forget about the challenges they fight everyday at the sound of a bat hitting a ball.
If you are interested in volunteering or getting your child involved with “For the Fences”, please visit the website or Facebook page provided in this post!