All Abilities Athletics (AAA) has started a new program that was made to offer inclusion to all kids. The idea is to get more kids excited and to help more kids with disabilities “fit in.” AAA’s #extrAAAordinary program opens more opportunities like arts and crafts, sports, field trips, and speaker series. It helps open the horizons for more kids. The reason AAA is doing this is to teach people-- especially those dealing with disabilities-- how to walk through life.
“We have done sports and now we want to add the education-- inclusion is the real goal. People will now appreciate and accept people with special needs,” commented Chris Homyk, father of one of the amazing kids, Eli, and starter of AAA. His goal was inclusion. By adding more events for the kids, they are including more in the activities. By doing this, it is “less stressful for the kids to pick something that they want to do,” Stacey, Chris’s wife, stated.
Stacey Homyk said that this is an extraordinary program that everyone is really excited about. It is raising awareness that even though the AAA parents’ kids have disabilities, they still want to be included. When they started the program, more parents stepped in to help more kids be included. Two moms started helping with the art portion, and it has been great.
When they started AAA, Chris and Stacey had a few goals in mind as a whole. First, to provide a place that was welcoming so those with disabilities felt at home and could be involved in sports. Once they started this though, they didn’t realize it would grow so much. It has now grown to a new level and their vision is now including more activities for all kinds of kids and personalities. It also gets the parents more involved. AAA was made to involve kids, but now it involves the whole family and has allowed everyone to bond more. Friendships between families have grown and the amount of support is unbelievable.
People can join the AAA team by helping with sports programs, arts and crafts, chaperoning kids on field trips, and getting the word out about All Abilities Athletics’s #extrAAAordinary program.
Students at New Haven, along with other students from schools like Washington and Borgia, have been helping with AAA. Julia Unnerstall said her experience was, “Awesome. When I got paired with my buddy, it was eye-opening. This program is just too amazing. Words cannot describe it.” Julia U. said that this new program sounds “inspiring.” She has always wanted more inclusion-- and this is a great way to do it. She thinks it is a good idea to do sports and other activities, rather than just sports. Others have the same thoughts.
Lexi Oetterer thought it was a good program because kids need to learn how to be involved in the community and we need to learn how to accept them. As she put it, “Their lives are not any less important.” When Lexi started helping, she said it “opened her eyes” to something new.
Julia McIntyre was convinced to start when she saw her mom working with the special needs kids. Seeing her smile when they accomplished something made Julia realize how special these kids were. “The kids feel an accomplishment, but so do you for helping them reach their goals. Helping others helps you achieve a sense of happiness you can’t reach anywhere else.”
AAA is a great program. By adding the #extrAAAordinary program to it, they are opening many new doors to success for these kids and to the helpers. It shows how we can help our community and it shows how far each of us have come. We get to watch kids develop over time, but we are the ones really being helped. We learn what excitement feels like, how it feels to be affected by someone who is having a good day, and a bad day. This program is a great way to stay in touch with reality, to know we aren’t the only ones out there. Not all of us have the good fortune to touch someone, but AAA is a great place to start. These kids, they do have the ability to touch someone's heart-- to open our eyes. But we need to open our hearts first and realize what our abilities are. After all, this is for All Abilities.