Speaker 1 00:04 Do love is those moments talking with moms and dads and with kids. I call those little moments, little treasures I stick in my pocket for remember, right? You know when you see a young boy show up at the game first time and you know let's say struggle. Probable is they really haven't had that exposure before and then you watch later. That's that season that boy and dad haven't catched out appeal pregame. You know that that's pretty, that's pretty moving and pretty impactful and it's those kinds of experiences, stories that are so it can be transformative.
Speaker 2 00:45 Welcome to FreeWheel with carton. This podcast share stories of people with various disabilities and shines a new light on accessibility topics. Our goal is to knock down barriers so we can roll through life a little easier and build a community. To do this together, please rate and follow this podcast or text card at (470) 588-1215 with comments and suggestions. We welcome you and your journey towards inclusion for all and now your host, Carden, Wyckoff, global disability advocate and wheelchair warrior.
Speaker 3 01:17 Welcome back to another episode of freewheeling with carton. I have Peter LaDuca in the house connecting virtually with me today. Welcome Peter.
Speaker 1 01:26 Well, thank you for having me card and I appreciate you having me on today.
Speaker 3 01:30 Yeah, and I'm so excited to hear about your impact in the disability space. You have a nonprofit that works with children with developmental and physical disabilities, so speak to where that idea came from.
Speaker 1 01:47 Okay. Yes. So I have five children and my oldest daughter is now 19 but when she, I was really young, six or seven, she played T-ball and I was coaching her playing tee ball and I was standing on the field watching all these kids and playing and I kind of looked over onto the side of the field and saw a kid in a wheelchair and the thought came into my mind like, Oh, I wonder where they play ball. You know what I mean? Like it, it just, you know, it was just a fleeting thought. Like, I wonder where they play baseball or if they have, if they have something for kid who, you know, who has a physical disability to, to play baseball. And it was a fleeting thought at the moment, but it kind of hung in the back of my mind. And not too, shortly after that I happened to be watching TV and saw a special, I think it might've been on HBO Bryant Gumbel sports show where they did a, uh, um, you know, a segment on kids playing modified football, which kind of re spark the memory of the event on the tee ball field with my daughter.
Speaker 1 02:50 And I thought, Oh wow, there are programs out there for kids with disabilities. And I started like poking around my area, which is orange County, New York area, just about an hour and a half North of New York city. And I, you know, I, I certainly like bumped into leagues like the challenger league, which is affiliated with little league and a couple of things like that, but didn't see a whole lot. And, and just the idea was, you know, for me it was like, Oh, you know what I'm going to do? I'm just going to try and have one ball game, you know, and just see what happens. And yeah, I got a couple of people to help me. I got some local newspapers to kind of promote, Hey, we're just going to have this ball game four, um, you know, kids with disabilities come on out.
Speaker 1 03:33 And that was back in 2007 and you know, if memory serves me correct, it was like 30 or 40 kids showed up and I was like, Oh, okay, there's, you know, there's, there's something here, there's a need and in the community, you know, and so from there, you know, the followup was, well, okay, we had, you know, that was September of 2007, you know, we're going to try and do in the spring of 2008 we're going to try and have three games. And I, I tend to be a little bit of a dreamer kind of guy. And so I thought, you know, someday I'd love to have a, you know, a big league with lots of teams and lots of kids playing ball and maybe we'll build our own field and we'll, you know, all, all these kinds of visions. But for me, mostly it was about kids playing ball. Right. So, you know, long story short, we had that three game season in the spring of 2008 and more kids showed up, you know, it was 70 or 80 and it just has kind of progressed from there to today where we, you know, it works, it's measured in the hundreds and hundreds of kids and hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. And it's a pretty, pretty exciting thing to see where, you know, one silly little idea that happened on a tee ball field in 2007 turns into something like that.
Speaker 3 04:51 And that initial thought that you had of, Hmm, I wonder what that kid in a wheelchair, how he plays ball. Was that just something that you thought of yourself or is that something that you were exposed to? I would say not a lot of people. Generally, I think in that sense of I wonder how someone else is able to do this who may not be able to.
Speaker 1 05:13 Yeah, no, that was really just the a thought that popped into my brain at that time and in reality might the real impetus underneath why I kind of continued to pursue it. You know, it started out with what I always call when people ask me is like the one silly idea, notion, you know, we all have silly ideas but it's rare to try it and sometimes you know, you'd got to just try it and I just wanted to just try it. So I did. But the followup to that, like the motivation follow up to that was, you know, I have five children and those five children like live in my family and their experience is basically what they live every day with me and what they live in the context of their school. And I thought just to try and help them to understand my own kids, starting with my own kids, help them to understand that the world is a really broad place with lots of people in lots of situations.
Speaker 1 06:06 And that we, we all have a responsibility to community. And that's very frankly why I named the organization. Beautiful people. I mean technically the business name or the organization's name is, you are beautiful people. It's a declarative statement for a reason that as a community we want to let these kids. And very frankly, we're, we're in the young adult space now too. Cause a lot of our kids, if eight technically aged out of what our original program was. So we're still, we're still hanging around and finding ways to be part of their lives. But the declarative statement really is around the community saying to these kids and to their collective families, like, you are beautiful to us and you are a part of what we, our of our community and we want you to be a part of our lives. So, uh, and maybe it sounds a little hokey, but it, you know, I thought it was important and, and continues to be an important concept of the mission of the organization.
Speaker 3 07:03 I can only imagine what the thoughts that are going through even those parents with children with disabilities who never thought their kid would be able to play in a little league baseball field. Are you interacting with those parents and what are they saying?
Speaker 1 07:21 Yeah. You know what, for me personally, the most fun part is actually that because it's not, I'm not a front and center person in the organization. I certainly support everything that's happening and kind of whenever the organization needs me. But I, you know, my, my interest is not really about Peter to be very honest with you. I liked, she kind of like sitting in the background. But what I, what I, I do love is those moments talking with moms and dads and with kids. I call those little moments, little treasures I stick in my pocket to remember. Right? Which is, you know, when you see a young boy show up at a game for the first time and you know, let's say struggle to throw a ball because they really haven't had that exposure before. And then you, you watch later, that's that season, that boy and their dad having a catch in the app.
Speaker 1 08:08 I feel pregame, you know, that that's pretty, that's pretty moving and pretty impactful. And it's those kinds of experiences and stories, you know, they're the, they're the small quiet ones, right? That are, so to me, transformative and you know, we continue to hear stories about kids who had struggled in school but now have a place and it's helping translate into better interactions in school with other kids. You know, more mainstream kids. It's just, there's so many, you know, th th th the unintended consequences. Okay. Okay. Of starting this organization, I just thought, Oh, it'll be great for kids to play ball. Right. Uh, but the unintended consequences are really, are remarkable to me. You see parents interacting with each other and, and collaborating on finding solutions for a lot of parents with kids with disabilities are so focused in trying to take care of the day to day needs of their kids and their, and in very often they're battling inside the context of the system, whether that be um, whether that be the school systems or whatever, just trying to find an advocate the best for their own kids. But when these, these families come together at these events, there's comradery, there's shared learning, there's all of that stuff. That's something I never imagined would come out of it, but has been a really a really great part of the, of of like I said, those unintended consequences.
Speaker 3 09:37 So they're learning team building skills and problem solving and or anything together. It sounds like there's more than just children out on the field. There's volunteers and the parents and maybe their siblings. Are they out on the fields as well, helping them?
Speaker 1 09:52 Yeah. So what our kind of primary focus is. So every, every person has the opportunity to have a buddy. And depending on the, the individual's ability to participate in the game without assistance, you know, we certainly have some really high functioning kids who just go out and play and we support that. We have other kids who need a lot of assistance. Everybody. And, uh, you know, the, the primary volunteer space in our organization is people who come and buddy with other kids during the games. But when it comes to families, our, our PR, you know, our, our first heart kind of with the moms and dads and brothers and sisters is to actually give them that event where they can just come and watch because they spend most of their day taken care of. Right? Right. So, you know, our, our stance is like, there were some times where it's just not possible, right?
Speaker 1 10:46 A child needs their parents' attention or there's, you know, there are certain instances where, Hey, on this day, um, the child needs needs a little bit more closer touch with her mom and dad. But for the most part, what we try and say is, Hey mom, Hey dad, Hey brother, sister and uncle and grandma or grandpa like grab a chair, go sit on the sidelines, cheer, have a great time. Watch your, your, you know, your family member. Just enjoy the game. And we got it. And um, and that's where we try and come from and, and it's, and it's largely the case, um, is largely the case where the families are just sitting on the sidelines cheering their kid on and uh, and having a great family time, which is, you know, really what the core of the mission of, you know, it's part of the core of the mission of the organization.
Speaker 3 11:33 I'm wondering what those parents are like, what's going through their minds when they're, when you tell them it's okay, sit on the sidelines, we've got this and giving reigns over to someone else. Especially when you have someone with a disability and you're such a caretaker for them. Are any of them kind of and be like, no, I don't know. Or they like, yes, I will take a seat.
Speaker 1 11:58 Well, it really, it really varies. Um, yeah, sometimes parents are like, who like, great, I'll, I'll take the two hours of, um, of just sitting back and enjoying. And then there were other parents who definitely, you know, you know, feel the need and, and we, you know, listen, we're, we're about inclusion and, and working together and which is why, like I said, we, we, you know, we had kids age out and our, you know, we were, we were supporting, you know, I think like four year old to 18 year old and then we had some of our early kids turn 18 and we were like, what do we do? Well we changed the rules, right? Because we want to, we want to accommodate and stay a part of these families' lives. So when we have family members who are hesitant or there is a real need, like of course we accommodate that and we work together.
Speaker 1 12:48 And if we can find ways to, you know, develop comfort level that allows them to step backward, we're, we're thrilled when that happens. And when there's times when, when parents just need to be involved, we're fine with that. One of the, you know, just to kind of piggyback on that commentary and kind of touch on two things that we've talked about so far is that, you know, the whole buddy systems really become pretty interesting. What we tend to do, it's not always PR, it's not, it doesn't always work this way, but we tend to do is we tend to try and find buddies that can man be matched up for full, full, full, full seasons with kids so that a bond relationship can, can be developed. And so what ends up happening, you know, on the parents side, you end up seeing trust be built and then getting more and more comfortable with the person who buddies with the kid.
Speaker 1 13:34 And then, um, and then secondarily when we talked about, you know, let's say better, better experiences in places outside of beautiful people. Like those friendships in many cases tend to go back to the school, right? So the kid who maybe didn't have a connection, you know, a lot of our volunteers, you know, very frankly are young people, right? We get lots of, you know, teenagers. I mean it's certainly plenty of adults and there's lots of supervision that way, but there's a lot of young people who are, who get involved. And so those relationships start to bridge into other places off the field or off the basketball court or you know, w we, we, we've multi multi-sport now we do baseball, soccer and basketball. And so we start to see that, that, that buddy approach creating those longer term valued relationships, um, that, that, that have impacts even even off the field.
Speaker 3 14:29 Uh, I love that the relationships that form, even after the season is over. And I'm wondering what the, the volunteers, the impact that they're getting. Like what are they getting out of it? Have you gotten any commentary from that?
Speaker 1 14:47 Yeah, well, I mean, we, okay, I'll say this for myself and I, and I know this to be true for basically everybody that's involved with the beautiful people in a volunteer capacity, we really all pretty much feel like we get more out of it, the organization than the kids do, right? I mean, w, you know, there's, it's, it's incredibly heartwarming. It's incredibly, um, you know, enriching to our, our own lives, inspiring in our own lives, um, to get to know these special kids and these special families and to be able to be touched by them. Right? We, you know, everybody gets into it thinking like, Oh, I'm going to, I'm going to it help. Right. And the reality is, is like, we're all right. Just so much better off than we were before we got involved because of those kids influences in our lives. So, yeah.
Speaker 3 15:37 Are you seeing a lot of repeat volunteers?
Speaker 1 15:41 Well, I'll say this much. Um, one instance, John Hudding, the gentlemen who pitched our first game in September of 2007 still pitches every weekend and every game that we play. So he's, you know, um,
Speaker 3 15:56 I'm pretty much sums it up by me. It's 13 years later, 14 years later. Yeah,
Speaker 1 16:02 exactly. So there's, um, and we have great, you know, Mmm. If a board member named Heidi who runs our R a R volunteer, she's just a fantastic, a lady who runs our volunteer organization certainly is great at helping people get onboarded to get comfortable. And it's, it is, um, attrition in the volunteer. Uh, you know, volunteer area is not, not normal. Um, we, we, we, lots of people stick around for a long time.
Speaker 3 16:31 That's wonderful. And that just shows the true values and the mission and, uh, just the foundation that you and your team has built. So it's really incredible. Um, so
Speaker 1 16:43 most of that, I'm going to pass most of that, but the, um, yeah, you know, the achievement, they're over too. Just a great team of, of people across the years that have, you know, have taking the one silly idea from 2007 and turned it into an incredible reality.
Speaker 3 17:00 It takes a whole team effort for sure. Village and, okay, so how can people get involved? What are some of the open volunteer positions?
Speaker 1 17:09 Yeah, I mean, we're certainly always, uh, you know, buddies are always a, uh, a great opportunity for people to be involved. We, you know, we have a growing a group of kids and I think it's important for people to understand too. But you know, so when I had that, that initial, uh, exposure two, uh, in 2007 and the spring of 2007 at my daughter's baseball game, you know, I envisioned a bunch of kids with mobility devices, you know, running around playing baseball and 60% or better of our kids are kids with, you know, in the autism spectrum or, um, you know, non-physical disability challenge. And, and so, you know, there's, there's great opportunity for people to understand it. It's not just about helping kids with physical challenges. It really is also a great opportunity to get involved with kids who have, you know, who can really benefit from human, the human touch or human interaction.
Speaker 1 18:11 And, and, um, and so when it comes to that, the buddy, the buddy part of the organization is, is you know, the biggest place where people get involved. Yeah. Outside of that, there of course there's lots of administrative things that happen when you have hundreds of kids show up. There's, uh, other things that happen. And of course, you know, with the organization being what it is, you know, there are people that are involved in helping us raise funds and run events and things like that. We, which were of course with the current situation, having to re re-imagine like everybody else in the world, uh, what, what events look like and what fundraising looks like. But, um, you know, we're pretty fortunate that we're, we have a cutting anyone and incredibly loyal, uh, donor base and support. W you know, there's, there's a broad spectrum of things.
Speaker 1 18:59 If people don't want to just be involved with kids or maybe they feel it's going to take some time for them to feel comfortable to do that. There's plenty of other things to do. Um, and the easiest way to get involved with that is to just visit our [email protected]
And what are some of those initial hesitations? You kind of touched a little bit on it, but why would someone feel the need that they're not ready and they express that to you at all? Yeah, sure. I mean, it's, it's, um, you know, if, if you, if you have a limited exposure to somebody with a disability, whether it be physical or developmental, you know, it's new and, and, and it's, uh, I don't know what to do. I remember in that game, like I spoke about in 2007, I was partnered with a young boy named Tim.
Speaker 1 19:46 Tim was, uh, was, you know, was, uh, it had, it had autism and, um, and you know, we were out there in the field and, um, you know, we've learned lots of things over the years. It's really good to have fields that are fenced in, right? We, we, because it helps us to make sure that kids who, you know, like to run around, we kind of have a, uh, boundaries that we can, we can help and manage with. Well, we had, you know, Tim, Tim and I, you know, we're off to the races on several occasions and this was my first, you know, cause Tim decided he was going to go start running. And, you know, I had never experienced that before. I had not, I hadn't, you know, had that, um, interaction with Tim's mom to say, Hey, w, you know, when this happens, what do I do?
Speaker 1 20:29 Um, and that's, those are the kinds of things that people are uncomfortable with. Um, and, and you know, we have some kids who have, you know, some pretty severe physical disabilities. We have some kids who, uh, you know, I come to the games with ventilators and things like that. And, and, um, yeah, it's, it's totally understandable that people have, uh, have those apprehensions. We've got lots of people there that can help take care of those people. You know, the, the kids who have a little bit of additional need. And it, and what we found is, as with anything in life, um, you know, the more time you spend together realizing, Hey, these are just kids who just want to play ball regardless of what condition they're in, they just want to have a good time and have fun. And, um, and you know, most people find your way. I would say most, I mean, in reality I can't think of an instance where somebody didn't, you know, get over there that their initial apprehension and find a way to participate and be really meaningful in what we're doing.
Speaker 3 21:31 Do you have any trainings to help kind of go over, you know, what is the ventilator and what, how do you help someone who has autism or is on the spectrum?
Speaker 1 21:41 Yeah, so we, we sure did. We have some onboarding and like I said, this is where our great board member Heidi comes in. Um, so we have both. We have both, you know, base level training that's just like, Hey, here's what the organization is, here's what it means to be a buddy. Here's how that works. And then we have other people who specialize in different types of challenges that come in and share with those, uh, you know, with, with those teams, you know, what are some things you can expect? How do you, you know, how do you manage certain situations? So, yeah, I mean, part of, part of our program, I mean, in the beginning it was like, you know, we just did our best, right? We know good intentions. We're all Berlin on the field and we tried our best. But as we, over time, we've learned, we've put some programs in place to help prepare people, help, help them get onboarded and understand more what it, uh, what it means to be a buddy for kids in varying situations. Right. And we, what I will say is, you know, a child who's, let's say in a high need situation, right? They need a lot of attention or they have a very specific medical condition that requires some real good attention. Like, we don't, we don't ask the first time people to come in and, and be involved in those types of situations. We, we, you know, we, uh, understand what it means to help people, um, know, yeah. Get comfortable and, and, and use those situations. So we're, we're pretty good about that.
Speaker 3 23:06 That's important. Yeah. It's like throwing someone in the fire, right. They can be a little hesitant, but I'm sure they would adapt pretty quickly. Yeah. Like with anything. So the rules of the game, we've got soccer, baseball, I've seen some off seasons for, it's like with football and such. Yeah. Are the rules the same? Do you adapt them in any way? Does everyone get a gold medal at the end of the day?
Speaker 1 23:32 Yeah. So we, we, you know, um, for like for instance, for baseball, every team member, uh, gets in a bad every evening, right? So we run through the, um, although up there, there are some kids at the older level who are playing baseball, right? We have them there. They want to compete, they want to play baseball, and we play baseball. Um, and, and that's the great thing. When we were a smaller organization, we only had, you know, 40 kids or 70 kids. We grew, we really couldn't accommodate for that. Um, because it was just, we didn't have enough kids to come up. We create all the different potential game scenarios. Um, now we have, you know, really teeny kids who are playing tee ball and, and, and, and then we have other, uh, older kids who are, you know, they're, they're playing baseball, um, you know, make it, make an outs and, and hitting home runs and things of that nature.
Speaker 1 24:18 Um, so, um, but for the most part, you know, the, the idea here is, is to get everybody involved. And one of the other things that we learned pretty well, again with such a high population of kids who are in the developmental space and developmentally challenged space and, and in the autism space is we've modified our game during the game two create, you know, additional, uh, interaction, right? So it's very often the case that the multiple buddies on the field will also, like, let's say, bring a ball out with them. And so in between batters, when we're trying to get a bat or set up an acclimated to being, to hitting, we're out playing catch with the kids or strong grounders or whatever during the game to keep that, to keep, um, you know, involvement high and not be asking the kids like, Oh, just sit there patiently until this, this child at bat gets set up to be able to hit.
Speaker 1 25:13 So they're, you know, we've learned over time, there's lots of things that we can do. In addition to that. Like it's something that happens pretty often is like local, okay. Softball teams or baseball teams will come during our events and pregame and post game we'll do training sessions like, so we try and, you know, we've, we involve the community and, and it's um, and yeah, and that, that's, that's, that's something that's is, is, you know, very important part and something that happens very often. It says there's a lot of inclusion of other organizations that come out and participate in and help in ways soccer training, basketball training, baseball training. There's softball. We, we, you know, we get lots of different organizations and as a result, it's not uncommon for some of those kids who participate in that to come back and be volunteers on a regular basis because they're, the impact of that initial interaction was so powerful.
Speaker 3 26:12 That's so cool. I love the, just the involvement of the community, just being creative and adaptive on the field because yeah, a lot of baseball can just be standing around and I can only imagine, especially children with disabilities, they get really antsy. Yup. Mmm. They need somebody to touch, hold, do, play. Uh, that's really neat.
Speaker 1 26:33 Otherwise, like when I learned with Tim way back when they start running that running harder. Yeah.
Speaker 3 26:38 So I noticed you guys on your website, you had a patted baseball field. Why that decision other than just like a traditional dirt grass field?
Speaker 1 26:48 Yeah. I mean, so there's a couple of reasons. Number one, it's just so much better for, yeah. Kids with mobility devices, right? It's just so much better.
Speaker 3 26:57 That's what I was hoping you would say.
Speaker 1 26:59 Yeah. It's, it's so it's, it's the first part is, you know, when, when we were a young organization, and remember I told you back in 2007 when I was dreaming big, I was always dreaming a building, building a, you know, um, a modified field, um, to, to, you know, to be inclusive that way. And, and so it provides like kind of basically two big things. It provides mobility access for, for everybody, right? It makes it easy for anybody who's in a mobility device to come out and play the same way everybody else does. And number two, right? Because it's a rubberized surface. <inaudible> it's really safe. We don't have to worry about kids falling down, getting hurt. Um, you know, certainly, you know, on grass you don't have to worry about that as much, but a lot of the pathways were dirt and have stones and all of those things in some of our kids, even if they, you know, even if they don't have, you know, outward physical disabilities, you know, just, we want to be careful and, and, and give them the best, safest, um, playing experiences we can.
Speaker 1 27:57 And so, um, you know, for years it took us 10 years to do, to raise the money to do it. And, um, and there were a lot of very, very generous people throughout the years who continue to help us contribute towards that dream. And we finally achieved it a couple of years ago. Um, it's, it's a super success in partnership with our local town who's donated property and, and all of those things. So it's, it's really, it's really turned out to be and outstanding, uh, an outstanding thing for the kids as a whole. We're thrilled about it.
Speaker 3 28:31 And what other stories do you want to share about just the organization? How your family has been impacted by this? Yeah,
Speaker 1 28:38 yeah. So I think, like I shared with you earlier, it's really anybody who gets involved has the opportunity to CA catch those tiny moments that they can kind of stick in their pocket and carry with them. Because w w we all understand that change in the world really comes one small incremental touch point, uh, and interaction at a time. And, and it's, and it's where I think people are, are, you know, the community at large is the biggest beneficiary of the generosity of our volunteers time, which it gets paid back in an X factor in, uh, and, you know, ORM feeling improvement to the community. Uh, all of those things in the end, you know, the, the, the, the, the vision really is to build a bridge and to remove the barriers right between these families and these kids who are just, you know, there everyday life is more challenging then than it is for able body families. It's just the reality and anything we can as a community to try and to try and eliminate the separation that's created just in the struggle. Right, right. It's just separation. Just in the struggle. Anything we can do to, um, to, you know, build a bridge between that or remove the barrier of that struggle is really, you know, is, is the mission of the organization and what I think most people, uh, understand they get out of that, of that, that interaction.
Speaker 3 30:12 Beautiful. I love that. That's so great. Do you partner with other, other adaptive sports community?
Speaker 1 30:21 Yeah, we, we tend to, yeah, in our area we're <inaudible> pretty well known as the, uh, you know, one of the bigger, kind of more impactful, uh, modified sports organizations. But there's a lot of collaboration in other comp, very complimentary organizations where, let's say there are other recreational organizations or educational organizations that focus on. And now even for us adaptive living locations because of some of our kids that are aging out of our original program, you know, we're, we're participating in trying to help create a more holistic experience and opportunity for, uh, these kids and young adults. So when it comes to, you know, let's say somebody who's in assisted living, you know, how do we work together with them to create programs, those, those organizations to create programs that create a more holistic opportunity. You know, living sports, socialization, community inclusion and interaction. You know, there's a L there's a lot of that that goes on.
Speaker 1 31:25 And, um, we're, you know, we are forever trying to both deepen those relationships because we think that they're critical. You know, in the end, like, yeah, I don't really care all that much about the organization in and of itself. Right. I ha we have a mission two be impactful and, uh, these kids and these families lives. So I, you know, for me, uh, this is not about let me invert that and say this is about being a part of these families' lives and being an impact on them. And then firstly, like I said, we all get impacted. So for me, you know, those partnerships with those existing organizations and we're always out there scrapping and Claude trying to find new ways, new organizations, new partnerships to try and create a better, more broad hell, you know, healthy, fun, you know, holistic, um, okay. Environment for our kids and their families.
Speaker 3 32:27 And what are some of the other organizations? Can you name them and their community that you worked with?
Speaker 1 32:35 So this is not, my memory's not my strong suit, but organizations like inspire, which is a, um, you know, a partnership, uh, where, uh, kids are, are okay, uh, influenced in educational areas. There's assisted living organizations, like I said. Um, there, there are other adaptive sports organizations. Um, you know, one of the other things that we have found that's been, you know, a, again, an unintended consequences is there, there are lots of organization people that having, are having this same idea. They're having the same silly idea. Uh, they come to us in regional areas, you know, or, or across the country for that matter who reach out to us. Uh, we're, we're talking right now with, uh, an organization out on Staten Island or Mmm. Who's, who's saying, Hey, you know, or what are the things we should do? What are the things we shouldn't do, you know, help, help us to get this up and running. And we love doing, we love doing that because again, it's, it's about kids. It's not about our kids, right? It's about all kids. If we can, if we can somehow help another organization, Mmm. Branch out, we do that.
Speaker 3 33:44 So is the goal to just keep beautiful people where it is now and then just share your expertise and knowledge to other organizations or do you want to expand that organization?
Speaker 1 33:58 There's nothing in the direct future from a geographical standpoint of us, like trying to, you know, spread out to other areas. We're always trying to grow our, grow our current, you know, constituents that like more kids. Right? The more kids we can, cause we know, we know we're not touching all of them. Right. We know there's a lot more kids out there than where we know in our County. Um, you know, let's say four or 500 kids that we're involved with right now is not it. Um, so we're always trying to reach out better to that and create better programs. Right? So our real goal is deeper, more enriched, better experiences for the kids and for their parents in our space. So for, you know, we're, we're looking to grow incrementally and organically, but enriched better, stronger, uh, programs is kind of what we're, what are our primary focuses.
Speaker 3 34:51 That's great. Um, so when you are out on the fields, or I guess your volunteers and people, um, do you feed them? Do you give them drinks? Are those beverages provided from other local organizations that are disability centric as well? Yeah, I know. Super random question, but that's just popped into my mind.
Speaker 1 35:12 You know, there's, there are many facets to running a successful, uh, you know, successful weekly event. I mean, which is basically what you're doing. Um, so, you know, it comes to things like drinks and snacks and stuff like that. They're all there and available and provided we have, uh, generally, Mmm. You know, non-disability centric organizations who are helping us with those kinds of, um, which is great. Again, this is about community inclusion and, and participation. Um, when it comes to, Mmm. You know, when we think about how the community outside helps you, you know, it costs us, and again, I'm not good with memory, but I think it was somewhere between 350, $400,000 to build our field. Right? So when we, when we look at the dollars, like it was a lot of local organizations are, is a, you know, a local Toyota dealership, Johnson, Toyota here who raised close to a hundred thousand dollars, uh, to help us build a field.
Speaker 1 36:13 So, you know, those types of, um, again, it's multifaceted. You asked about snacks and drinks and <inaudible> and things like that. You know, that the message there is, there's lots of facets and there's lots of people in the community that are helping make that stuff happen. Yeah. So grateful for it. That's why I said before like, Mmm, I, you know, I, I try and stay in the background for the most part. Cause there are a lot of people that are doing a lot more than than I than I do, you know? Um, and, and, and, and, and they're, they're, they're the real champions of what the organization is and has become.
Speaker 3 36:51 Cool. And what is that legacy that you wanted to leave on your own? The world is
Speaker 1 36:57 pretty big place kids and, and uh, and there's lots of people in lots of different situations and it is, it is so easy for us too. Let our own discomfort dictate how we respond to that. And then for us too, give ourselves a pass, so to speak, because of our own discomfort and my message to my kids are, is like lean in. It's, it's your job to put that aside and go be a part of people's lives who are in different situations than you. That's, that's your, that's your job, that's your, your role in the world is to make the choice two, make the world a better place by not letting your own apprehension stand in the way of you touching somebody who, um, you know, it you have to get over your own apprehension about, to, to get involved with.
Speaker 3 38:01 That's really, that's, you know, we're all just people, right? We're all just people. We are, there's no, there's just look different. No different. All just people. And there's nothing, there's so just, you know, just be a people
Speaker 1 38:14 and go and, and, and, and uh, and connect and, and, and you know what will happen. What I always encourage them is you don't happen like 10 minutes and it won't matter to you anymore. Like all that will go away and you'll realize, Oh yeah, we're, we're just people.
Speaker 3 38:30 I know. I Googled stock to you and I read a bunch of articles. You formally had a band or was a drummer. So do you bring out your drumming skills out on the field? The celebration.
Speaker 1 38:43 I know, I know, you know, you sit down and think like, okay, could we, can we incorporate music? And we've, we've thought about all that, especially, you know, with what's happening right now, um, with coronavirus, you know, the reality is we're, we're rethinking lots of things cause we have to adapt right to, we can't, we can't get 400 kids together on a ball field in may. We don't normally have, um, you know, our, our, uh, spring baseball season in may, you can't do that right right now. Um, it just wouldn't be good for them. And, and we want to be super careful about them and their health and so we're thinking about all the different, uh, different things we might be able to do. So who knows? Music, you just might be a part of that.
Speaker 3 39:24 Yeah, that will be really cool. I'd love to see that. Um, but I know I've seen you guys have adapted your Facebook page as well. You have zoom classes and other ways to just continue movement movement is so important for everyone, regardless of disability or not. So can you speak a little bit about the organization and how you guys are doing that?
Speaker 1 39:45 You know, the, the, um, the impetus there, the reason why we're doing that and trying to stay involved and keep kids moving and busy and interacting is, you know, the challenge that Mmm. Families with kids with disabilities have as just, you know, been, uh, you know, up to a couple of notches, right? Cause they're there, they're at home, they're there, there's no, there's no outlet, um, outside of the home. And that is just, you know, that just dials up the, the challenge and the pressure. And so we're still trying to find ways as creative as we can be to be involved in, um, in these family's lives. And we're doing that through things like these, uh, you know, online zoom classes. Another thing that we're doing, uh, quietly behind the scenes is, uh, we're just, we're just making phone calls to moms and dads and just, uh, you know, 15 minutes or a half an hour on the phone and saying, Hey, how are you doing?
Speaker 1 40:44 Is there anything we can do to help? Well, you know, how, and sometimes just the phone call, um, for somebody to be able to say, Hey, yeah, it's been a tough couple of months here and, and um, and Hey, thanks for those classes or thanks for the phone call alone. Um, is, is a part of it. Um, just to let them know that we're thinking about them and we care about them and that they're, you know, just cause we can't play baseball. It doesn't mean we don't care about, um, being a part of your life and we know that the struggle is real and dialed up a little bit right now. So those are the types of things we're doing, right?
Speaker 3 41:20 Yeah, I would say the community outreach is so important. That's something that I do and our nonprofit as well is just reaching out on a quarterly basis. Hey, how's it going? How are you doing? Like I'm not here to for money. I'm just here to check in and say hello. Um, just to know you and get to know you and how things are going.
Speaker 1 41:40 Right. That's, I mean in the end. Yeah, there's lots of other nuts and bolts that have to happen and as part of all the things that we do, but you know, I mean what's the goal for all of these things that we do right is in the end is to make human connections and recognize, like I said, we're all people and we're all trying to do the best we can.
Speaker 0 41:58 Yeah.
Speaker 3 42:01 Well cool. Well thank you. Peter, did you have anything else to share
Speaker 1 42:05 for this opportunity to, to be a part of this and, and uh, appreciate your, you know, it's short term, but your friendship over the past couple of weeks here that we've gotten to know each other. It's been a real pleasure and um,
Speaker 3 42:18 well I'm so excited to see how our company can work with you at a local level. I'm in the New York area cause they know we have an office up there. So hopefully with Kobe, maybe next year we could be out on the fields and helping out and being a buddy. So I would love to see that. That'd be great. Nearly cool. Well cool. Thanks Peter so much for your time and take care, Stacy. Bye.
Speaker 2 42:46 Thank you friends for listening. Please rate and follow this podcast or text card at (470) 588-1215 with comments and suggestions. Tune in next week for another disability topic. <inaudible>.