Building Bigger

One-Day Baseball/Softball Adaptive Clinics

Providing individuals, regardless of physical or mental ability, personal growth through sports.

The League of Dreams provides adaptive and traditional sports clinics, drills, games, and camps for the special needs community. According to NCBI, obesity rates for those with disabilities is significantly higher than those without disabilities. One reason cited is the “lack of accessible environments in which to exercise or fully participate in other activities.”

Over the last 18 years, LOD has impacted over 31,000 youth with disabilities with the help of 48 community-based organizations using outdoor recreational activities to unite people with differing backgrounds and abilities. Each program is specifically adapted to meet the needs of the participants with a focus on developing skills, exercising, building relationships, and increasing a sense of confidence in their ability so that they continue partaking in recreational activities. LOD levels the playing field so that the special needs community is able to exercise while having fun and developing lasting friendships.

The $25,000 State Farm grant would allow LOD to expand its mission throughout Maryland. Currently, LOD implements approximately 40 clinics/events for youth with disabilities each year. Clinics typically run for two hours and involve approximately 30 kids and over 30 community volunteers. Costs associated with each clinic include permits, field rentals, t-shirts, trophies, officials, and training—averaging $5,000 per clinic. This does not factor in staff time (organizing; recruiting volunteers; coordinating with ball clubs, colleges, and special needs schools; promoting, and running day-of events). The need to serve the special needs (and at-risk youth) is great. LOD frequently receives requests from parents to include their children. Unfortunately, our financial resources are limited, which in turn, limits the geographic locations and number of youth served. The $25,000 would allow LOD staff to handle the expansion efforts while managing additional clinics and camps.

The State Farm grant would have lasting impact on the special needs community. It would allow LOD to reach more youth who are desperately looking for adaptive and fun recreational programs, which not only have significant health benefits but are also empowering. Every child served by the LOD leaves the clinics confident in their abilities to participate in sports programs and exercise, in their new (becoming lasting) friendships, and in their independence.

LOD creates cherished memories and unique experiences not easily replicated and never forgotten. Many of the clinics include the assistance of major and minor league baseball players who volunteer their time that day. They are there cheering on each player, high fiving them and commending them on their efforts. By bringing together individuals from all walks of life and abilities, LOD encourages inclusion, compassion, and understanding—positive values that are lasting and can be shared with others.