For years I’ve wanted MJ to participate in various sports programs. Starting from about 6 years ago, I tried to put him in swimming classes and was told, “We don’t have anyone that teaches special needs kids.” I then tried to sign him up for baseball. This was supposed to be a league set up for special needs kids. I filled out the form twice, called and left messages, and emailed the contact persons and no one ever contacted me. I also tried the local YMCA and again never got anyone to contact me even after going there and trying to speak with someone. I felt invisible and also felt that people didn’t care about my son because he wasn’t what they called “normal!” I really wanted to curse these people out in 3 different languages but I had to remember that I loved Jesus and that doing so would probably get me nowhere!
Recently I received information on a sports buddies program through the YMCA. Due to the issues I’ve had in the past I really had low expectations that anyone would contact me. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a phone call and email answering ALL of my questions. I signed MJ up for their basketball buddies program. I explained to him that he would be playing basketball with a buddy once a week. He looked at me strangely and I knew he was processing what I was saying. It was new for both of us so I couldn’t give him further information. On the first day he was a little nervous. On the car ride over he was playing with his mouth which is something he does when he is nervous. When we walked into the gym his face lit up when he saw the other kids. I decided to stay back and observe his behavior. I had already decided that if he didn’t look happy or didn’t engage, then we would not be returning. I was thrilled to see MJ participating in several basketball “drills” and high fiving his “buddy!” He stopped playing with his mouth and was fully engaged in all of the activities. So far he has had two sessions and everything has been completely organized and lots of fun. He now eagerly anticipates going. I’m truly grateful for this program. It’s wonderful to see the teamwork and self confidence in all of the kids.