Oftentimes, we look around our communities and realize something is missing.
Amber Stockard, a therapist and mom of three from Texas, recently experienced this. Her kids love playing sports through the local school and community center, but one day she discovered that children with disabilities didn’t have the same opportunities.
So she reached out to her friend Amber Jackson, whose 12-year-old daughter has Down syndrome. Amber J. has often lamented the fact that their small town doesn’t have much for kids like Lexie.
To get Lexie to her baseball and cheerleading practices, Amber has to drive her more than 30 minutes each way, and there’s no Special Olympics in the area.
The two parents started tossing ideas around and came up with starting a basketball league for children with special needs.
Since their local team is called the Cross Roads Little Dribblers, they named their group the Cross Roads Miracle Dribblers.
Then they spread the word and gathered as many parent volunteers as they could find. Within two months, the program was up and running, and now they have 11 players from all over Henderson County!
Children with experiences ranging from autism to cerebral palsy have joined the Miracle Dribblers. Volunteers help them move around on the court and learn the ins and outs of the game, and they love every moment of it!
“Seeing the smiles on their faces is amazing,” Amber J. said. “If you can put a smile on their face for just a minute it makes you feel good.”
Their games aren’t scored, and there are no opposing teams because it’s all about having a good time! Each player is cheered on by both sides, and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season.
Ultimately, both moms couldn’t be more pleased with the way the league has turned out. The kids are having a great time and get to feel like they belong on a sports team for the first time.
“I feel blessed to be a part of this and blessed that these kids get to do something that their friends do,” Amber J. said. “That’s all they want. For them to feel and be treated like anyone else, to get to do the same things other kids do.”
This may be the Miracle Dribblers’ first year, but they’re already a huge success. It just goes to show that if we see something in our community that isn’t right, we have the power to make a difference!
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