Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Help Make A Difference

Do you remember that moment when you were told that your child had Autism?  I do! And even though I was the one that asked that they screen him for Autism during his assessments because I felt something was off; I still couldn't believe my ears. I felt like someone hit the pause button. Everything just stopped, I only heard the beat of my heart in my ears, and I felt so lost! I knew almost nothing about Autism. As a parent it is our job to take care of them, and make sure they were okay.  But yet here we were, sitting in a doctor's office being told that our baby boy had Autism, and I had no idea how to make him better.  

I did the only thing I knew how to do, look up Autism and try to learn as much as I could.  The thing I remember feeling the most was alone.  I had my husband and both our families who were there and very supportive, but I  still felt alone. I didn't know anyone else who was going through or even someone who went through what I was going through.  It bothered me that when I went out to events or public places, I had to constantly explain my son's behavior.  And even after explaining I still felt as if we didn't fit in.  It wasn't until I attended an event walk where I was surrounded by other families and individuals that were actually going through what I was going through.  A place where all the children with Autism could truly be themselves, because people were aware and they were accepting.  The only problem here was that it was once a year! The other 364 days of the year were back to just us.  I longed for that feeling of acceptance and non-judgment.  

A little over 5 years ago my son asked to play baseball.  This was huge for me.  I searched for a place where he could play.  We eventually found a place.  It was outside of where we lived but we were willing to make the trip so that he could play.  Once we got there I remember feeling lost and a bit out of place.  I eventually met another family who were super nice, but I struggled with the fact that I didn't feel completely comfortable.  So I went ahead and I reached out to a local little league to see if they would give us a field for a little while to let the kids play.  They did and we started the Bronxchester Challenger League!  And from the Challenger League we really saw a need for more recreational services for our children.  Which is why I founded D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. I wanted to created an organization that could provide a space where they can truly be themselves, and where parents could feel comfortable as well.  A place where our children were given the same opportunities and activities as typical children have, but not have to rob a bank to afford them. 

I am proud to say that we are now going into our 5th year of Challenger baseball, and we have just completed our second session of Art. Our Art program success was due to grants we received from Autism Speaks and Bronx Council on the Arts.  We have also incorporated special events such as Halloween and the Holiday season into our services.  We are still very brand new and we are working hard to continue to provide these services to the community, but it is becoming more and more difficult to secure funds to facilitate the program.  Because we rely mainly on donations and volunteers, it is difficult to provide the quality of service we would like to offer. I would like to take this time to thank Monsignor Scanlan High School for giving us their space to run our Art Program and Special Events. I am basically working my 40 hour week to pay bills and working on D3 programming every chance I get with the help of board members who are very hands on and dedicated to the organization.  Unfortunately this may not be enough to continue.  

D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. is looking for generous individuals who want to help us make a difference in the Autism community.  If you would like to donate to D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. please feel free to click on the link provided below. Own a business and want to help and also promote your company?  Sponsor a team! 

D3 Sports is also in need of members for their board that have knowledge and skills to guide us to a level where we can truly provide the quality of programming our families truly deserve.  If you would like to sit on the board, please contact the Governance Chairperson Chaquon Polanco at CPolanco@d3sportsandrec.org.  


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