The Humble ISD community is coming together to ensure all students, even those with development disabilities, have opportunities to participate in team sports. The Humble ISD Education Foundation is partnering with Humble ISD and the YMCA of Greater Houston to raise financial support for an adaptive sports complex, to be built between the new elementary and middle school in The Groves community. Specific components of the ADA compliant, handicap accessible project include the following:
• Two Miracle League baseball/multipurpose fields that will be specially equipped and custom designed according to Miracle League standards. They will feature a cushioned synthetic turf that will allow players with disabilities (including those who use wheelchairs and walkers) to hit, run, catch and play ball without fear of injury. The fields will be used for baseball, softball, and soccer.
• A barrier-free playground providing a variety of multisensory experiences, including climbing (proprioceptive system), movement (vestibular system), and tactile, visual, and auditory exploration. The playground will include ramps, special swings, sensory related items, low activities, and other features that can be modified to enable children with special needs to play side by side with their siblings and friends.
• A covered pavilion equipped with modified basketball hoops, activity space, restrooms and a concessions area. The pavilion also includes small rooms for quiet spaces often required when overstimulation occurs with special needs persons.
THE ADAPTIVE SPORTS COMPLEX PROGRAMMING
Children with special needs have historically been excluded from participating in sports due to the lack of appropriate facilities. Our project was inspired by a national baseball league for special needs children called The Miracle League. This program is unique in that it pairs able-bodied children and adults together with a player with special needs through a “buddy” system. The benefits to both groups are immeasurable. There are only two Miracle Leagues in Greater Houston, and the Lake Houston Family YMCA runs one of them. With the Miracle League standards in mind, our Adaptive Sports Complex is specifically designed to enable individuals with special needs to participate in team sports including soccer, football, kickball, and field day games in addition to baseball. Students will participate either through the district’s integrated athletics or through a community partner’s program.
The elementary and middle school students will utilize the facilities during the school day and the Y and other community partners will operate team sports programs in the evening and on weekends.
The sports complex will also be open for a variety of organizations. The facility is designed to accommodate everything from field days for area public and private schools to Special Olympics. Any partner organization wishing to use the facility will be welcome. The partner organizations are working on a detailed operational plan to ensure that this new community asset will be used to the fullest year-round.
The partner organizations will evaluate their programs to demonstrate their impact and gather input for continuous improvement. Adaptive sports participation statistics will be tracked to monitor and ensure that the new facilities are used to the maximum. The Greater Houston YMCA will also survey parents of the children who participate in the Miracle League programs as well as the volunteer “buddies” who assist them. The district will gather qualitative and quantitative results of its integrated athletics and adaptive physical education curriculum. The data will be used to further improve program quality and ensure a high-quality experience for the participants, families, and volunteers.
Joe Cleary (Campaign Chairman, Harvey Builders), Mark Koenig (Campaign Co-Chairman, Community Volunteer), David Brady (EVP, Houston Zoo), Carrie and Jonathan Brinsden (Community Leader, CEO Midway), Kim Brusatori (Founder/CEO Village Learning & Achievement Center), Twila Carter (Executive Director, Community Relations, Astros Foundation, Houston Astros), Star and Mark Heinrich (Community Volunteers, Keller Williams, Retired), Dave Martin (Houston City Councilman, District E), Jay Mincks (EVP, Insperity), and Heath Rushing (CEO, Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital).
Joiner Architects, Inc. and Sterling Associates
PLEASE JOIN US
We are seeking generous support for the Sports For All Campaign to create an exciting new place in the Lake Houston community where people of all ages and abilities can play, exercise, and have fun. This will not only give joy to the participating individuals but also strengthen the community as a whole. Thank you in advance, for your commitment to this vital project!
“Our dream is to have a totally inclusive model where kids with differences are not separate from their peers. Rather than having a temporary visa to the world of the able-bodied, they are citizens of the same world. The goal for any child is to be a lifelong participant in the activities that interest them. The adaptive sports complex and programs like The Miracle League give kids with special needs the opportunity to be participants, not just spectators.”
-- Ellen Shimer, Coordinator of Early Childhood Education for Humble ISD and Parent of a Special Needs Adult