How Your Gifts Help

Changing Lives
Health Fitness Acceptance

Dear Friends:

Overcoming his nervousness and shyness, Beky Avery's 10 year old son Emery is eager to follow his new high school buddy, Matthew Darrigo onto the practice field. He is about to enjoy his baseball experience under the watchful eye of Matthew who has been selected and trained by Fields of Friends™ to make sure Emery is at ease with the game and help him enjoy himself. What makes this day special for Emery is that he has never played before because he has a seizure disorder. For Emery's mother, the instant connection between her son and his buddy means she can step back and watch with pride. "As parents, not to have to worry about our children's disabilities at that moment, and for our kids not to have to worry about their disabilities and being sidelined, was amazing. For them to donate their time and their love of that game to our children.. that is something that really stirs the soul.

 As of 2010 an estimated 5% or over 2.3 million of the children ages 5-15 in the U.S. have a challenge or disability ranging from physical impairment to cognitive or self care disabilities. Disability affects children of all socio-economic classes, but the incident of disability is over 11% in households reporting less than a high school education and over 27% for this living below the poverty line. (Cornell University, 2012). In 2011 in Florida 502,566 children were enrolled in exceptional education programs. (Florida Kids Count, 2012). Children with special needs are often ostracized by peers, and because of difficulty with social or physical interaction approximately 8 out of 10 are likely to have faced bullying or physical attacks—this is a rate approximately three times that of the general population.

Fields of Friends™ is an all volunteer-run nonprofit founded 2010 by high school athlete Owen Sarwatka at age 15 as an Eagle Scout Project. Owen, now a freshman in college, acknowledges a great personal benefit from participating in organized team sports during his childhood, and facing several injuries and overcoming long-term complications of a congenital kidney defect has given him a great sense of empathy for the challenged youngsters and families we serve.

Fields of Friends™ offers a series of clinics where high school athletes are paired with participants with physical or mental disabilities to work on skill building exercises and the concept of teamwork and self expression. Our next event is January 10, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. We are excited to continue our offerings in the Tampa Bay area and have a vision to expand opportunities for challenged people in communities throughout the U.S. Each event draws approximately 400 participants and additional spectators. The program has strong outcomes including:

  • Socialization and relationships that develop between all of the volunteers and participants involved create communities of inclusion and acceptance.
  • People with special needs demonstrate increased confidence and courage as they experience success on the field and with new friends.
  • Families learn about the importance of “‘play” and staying physically and mentally fit through exercise and healthy food choices.
  • High school athletes serving as mentors demonstrate increased leadership skills and an increased understanding of people who are differently-abled and what they can do rather than what they cannot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please join us in making inclusion, acceptance, health, and baseball the building blocks to stronger communities. The majority of special needs participants that engage in our programs have never played a sport. This opportunity opens their eyes to the possibilities not of what they can’t do but what they CAN do. All gifts are recognized in our program, communications, and online community. Your financial contribution to our programming changes lives.

  • Your gift of $100 your name will appear as a web site sponsor for a year.
  • Your gift of $250 your name and logo will appear as a website sponsor and on event sponsor banner for a year.
  • Your gift of $500 your name will also appear on event shirts.
  • Your gift of $1000 your name and logo will appear on event shirts, web site and field banners for a year.
  • Your gift of $2500 or more on all event shirts for all events this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us in supporting Emery Avery and hundreds of participants like this special boy. When you give a tax deductible donation or sponsorship to Fields of Friends™ you will help to give all children the chance to achieve success. Your support ensures that everyone can play baseball. Thank you for your time, consideration, and generosity. Your support changes lives.

Sports Mentoring for the Special Needs