Hopebridge Children’s Foundation Creates Field of Dreams for Kids with Autism
June 13, 2018
June 13, 2018
Many kids fantasize about running the bases in a Minor League Baseball stadium, and Hopebridge Children’s Foundation (HCF) is turning that dream into reality for children with special needs. The ninth annual Field of Dreams t-ball league kicks off in July, giving kids with autism and other developmental disorders a shot to play team sports with their peers.
Because organized sports are typically competitive, they aren’t always an option for kids with special needs. Among social and behavioral challenges, they may need extra assistance or time to get used to the elements of the game.
“Our t-ball league is often the first time these kiddos are exposed to a team sport and the first time their parents get to watch them play on a field,” said HCF Executive Director Courtney Albright, who oversees the nonprofit’s activities. “The foundation’s goal was to break down any barriers and give each child the opportunity to experience the action without any judgment.”
Each player gets multiple chances over three games to hit the ball and run the bases at Jackrabbits Kokomo Municipal Stadium, regardless of their physical or behavioral status. In an effort to make sure each individual has the most amount of fun possible, volunteers are available to assist with batting, running and fielding, as needed.
While bright smiles and parents’ cheers are the driving force behind the league, there is also a therapeutic element. The program allows children to practice following rules, taking turns and other social skills in a real-life setting. Other benefits include the enhancement of fine and gross motor skills.
If you want your child to join the fun, the spots are limited, but there’s still time!
As part of the foundation’s mission to provide inclusive experiences, there is no cost to join a team. To participate, parents can email Hopebridge to register children ages 5 to 15 with special needs. The deadline to register is Friday, June 22.
Games will be Mondays in July, starting July 16. All are held at the Jackrabbits stadium at 400 S. Union Street in Kokomo, IN.
In addition to games, families are invited to an award ceremony and Jackrabbits game Friday, Aug. 3. Both are free for players to attend; $18 for each family member. The cost includes food and beverage at the ceremony, plus a ticket to the game. Family t-shirts are also available for purchase to help root for your kiddo!
*Informed consent was obtained from the participants in this article. This information should not be captured and reused without express permission from Hopebridge, LLC.