Let me first start off by saying that HOPE Week has been absolutely great this season. Watching Jane Lang walk the bases while guided by Joe Girardi after the other night’s game is something that is going to stick with me for a long time. Watching a boy with no arms or hands throw out the first pitch is rather inspiring. Hearing the story of Mohamed Kamara is as well. I was at work so didn’t get to see the HOPE Week ceremonies, but reading this blurb on LoHud warmed my heart:
After today’s game, HOPE Week will continue with the Yankees reaching out to the children and supporters of “You Are Beautiful People,” an organization who reaches out of children and families with special needs to make them feel more a part of the community through participation in sports. The group is in attendance for today’s game, and afterward, they will play a game on the field with members of the Yankees.
That event, you see, touches me in a bit of a personal way.
First off, I want to be a teacher and am in the process of getting my Masters in Education with a focus in secondary English. Through my courses and an internship, I’ve had a lot of public interaction with children in special education, with disabilities, and with special needs. Unfortunately, this is a part of education that is usually glossed over. Working with students with special needs–even if it’s not for the whole day–is an incredibly rewarding experience and though I’m not looking to go into the exact field of Special Education, I’ll never turn down a chance to work with students with special needs. Seeing the Yankees recognize these children, while giving them an opportunity to do something they may not normally be able–or invited–to do, is refreshing and, again, heart warming.
On a more personal note, my cousin Jessica, also 23 years old, has some pretty severe disabilities. At a very young age, she developed a more or less inoperable tumor on her brain stem; she had a stroke when she was three; she’s never learned to walk and she can’t say more than a few words at a time; she was born just one week before I was and she wasn’t supposed to live past age five. I constantly wonder why I’m so lucky to have lived a relatively normal life while she hasn’t been able to. She has never so much as had the opportunity to go to a public school. So, even if Jessie may not be able to experience something like what the children of “You Are Beautiful People” did today, I’m glad at least some children were able to have that experience.
I don’t care if I sound repetitive, but to see the Yankees embrace children (and adults) with disabilities and special needs the way they have this week is incredible to see.
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