Move Along Inc. is one of the greatest things my family has ever come upon. My daughter Brittany is 7 years old and has Spina Bifida. She has no sensation from the hips down so she uses a wheelchair for sports and strenuous activities and forearm crutches to walk during daily activities. My husband and I have always believed that she should be able to experience everything that the world has to offer including sports (easier said than done). We looked for years for a support group/activities group geared towards children with physical disabilities to no avail. And now that we’ve discovered Move Along there is nothing that can hold Brittany back. Move Along offers all of the things we thought she’d miss out on like basketball, hockey and other team sports. Between the programs and the wonderful group of mentors, volunteers and participants I‚have seen Brittany‚has self esteem grow in leaps and bounds. Not only has my daughter benefited but our whole family has benefited from the wonderful things Move Along has to offer. We‚have all participated in various Move Along Inc activities including our two boys ages 5 and 2. Move Along members have taught us that if you believe you can do it there is always a way, you just need to make it happen (and they‚are always there to help). To sum it up Move Along offers our family a great support system, fun activities, and more smiles than you could possibly imagine. I can’t express with words how grateful I am for all that Move Along has to offer my family, our lives are forever changed! Oh and did I forget to mention, the first time we participated in a Move Along activity Brittany compared it to going to Disney World! That was when I realized just how special this organization is, as a parent I can tell you that there’s no bigger compliment a child can give. I’m so happy to be a part of Move Along Inc and I can’t wait to see how it grows and develops in the years to come! – Karen and Ben Kaye
My true introduction to the world of physical disabilities was when I was just past halfway through my pregnancy for my youngest child. It was then that an ultrasound confirmed that my son Jaden had Spina Bifida. On that day, my family’s journey unexpectedly turned to go down a new path. A path we knew existed, but never thought we would personally travel.
Just like parents of normal and healthy children, parents of children with special needs are not given a handbook on how to deal with the many circumstances that come your way. You have to figure many things out for yourself. As Jaden grew older, he began to put on more weight. Physical activity is difficult, as his primary means of mobility is a wheelchair. We began looking for ways for Jaden to be physically active in group activities. Naively, we did not think that would be difficult in a community of our size. Unfortunately we were wrong.
We reached out to our network of families with children with physical disabilities, and we still could not find anything to meet Jaden’s needs. We found some “activities”, but not ones that were more like sports like Jaden grew up watching his older sister play. He wanted to be out there playing on a team and doing the same thing that other kids do.
We met Greg Callen just as he was getting Move Along established, and he truly was an answer to prayer! When we were finally able to begin our Wheelchair Basketball program, Jaden was so excited that he could barely contain himself. I am not exaggerating when I say that Jaden would leave basketball on a Friday night and begin counting the days until when he would return!
We have had people with all different levels of ability attend our events. It doesn’t matter what you can or cannot do. This is a place where they can belong. This is where, if at all possible, we will figure out a way for anyone to participate.
I am unsure when I made the decision that I wanted to stop investing in my other volunteer activities and start investing instead in Move Along. But there are moments that I can reflect on that I know changed my life. When we first started Wheelchair Basketball, we had to have volunteers hold hula hoops so that the players would have a target that they could actually reach. We quickly determined that this was not sufficient. One day, we finally were able to bring in a basketball hoop that had been modified to a lower level. It was such fun watching the players have a real target to shoot at. We had one young man approach the basket that has difficulty raising his arms and having the strength to propel a ball. I don’t know if he had ever made a basket before, but I can tell you that the look on his face that night, when a ball that HE ALONE threw went through that net, was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced in my life. I don’t think I will ever forget the smile on his face.
This is why I am a part of Move Along. It is for people like that young man, who has no where else to go to participate in sports. It is for young people with lots of energy that want to move and sweat and crash their wheelchairs in a serious game of basketball. And it is for the young paralympic hopeful that needs a place to start, and to have the contacts needed to make their dreams come true. Something that everyone deserves a chance to do. – Beth Wagner –