FALCONER – Athletes and their buddies took to Lion’s Field last Sunday to participate in the first Exceptional Stars Athletics Baseball Game.
“Our mission is to provide kids with special needs, athletic opportunities and our goal is to open up doors for them with different opportunities that are available in the community,” said Rich Bianco, director of ESA.
The baseball game was a great example of these opportunities created by the organization. Every child participating seemed to have had a great time hitting the ball and running the bases, some even showing off their best dance moves.
“Our buddy system has been phenomenal, we partner our special needs athletes with regular-ed buddies who are involved in sports programs in the community or in school,” Bianco explained.
The buddy system used by ESA gives all kids involved a chance to form friendships and have new experiences they wouldn’t usually have otherwise. During the game, buddies would get the ball ready and run the bases with the athletes, cheering them on as they did.
“What started out as just a 1 time baseball game four years ago turned into over 30 events in the last 3 years. This really kicks off our new year for ESA.”
The ESA strives to hold at least 3 events every month to keep the kids active and engaged. The next event coming up towards the end of this month is the ESA Track and Field.
“We’re open to anybody, it started out with just kids from Falconer. Now we have kids from 8 school districts and buddies from 7 school districts,” Bianco said.
They invite anyone who is interested to reach out to them via their Facebook page.