Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Shortly after Colin was born, my former boss Doug Padron, the head atheltic trainer at Monmouth University, approached Chris and I (Chris also works in the athletic department there) about an idea he had. Along with one of the other athletic trainers, Vanessa Christensen, they wanted to organize a day of "Playing with the Hawks" where young children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities could come out and spend time with the Monmouth University athletes.

A year later, that idea became a reality.

On Saturday May 8th, Monmouth University peer leaders, in conjunction with the Family Resources Associates, Inc. in Monmouth County hosted the PossAbilities Walk & A DAY OF SPORTS PLAY with the HAWKS. The day started with a 1 mile walk around the track with all of the families of children with disabilities. During this 1 mile walk, we met so many new families of a wide variety of age ranges. These families gave me such hope as they shared so many of their children's accomplishments!

Later, the Monmouth University athletes from different sports teams, had stations set up and the children had the opportunity to play with the athletes! They were having such a great time! We mostly spent time with a few of the families with young children with Down Syndrome. They told me about some of the groups that they have in the area and it sounded like fun!

We felt honored to participate in such a great day and were proud that Doug and Vanessa got this program up and running for all of our children! It was amazing to see the college athletes reach out and spend time playing and teaching the children as well. There are so many possABILITIES for Colin and all of his friends out there!
Some pictures from the day:
Colin looking cool in his eye black like the football players wear

Colin and Doug

Colin was really excited to partipate in the walk, especially after he got his eye black!
He had such a great time walking around the track meeting new people!

Some other walkers on the track
Colin's new friend Evan! Isn't he a cutie!?

Part of what Chris' job entails is sending out press releases regarding Monmouth University athletic events (specifically, women's soccer, men's basketball, and baseball, plus a whole lot of other things). One of the guys that works for Chris came to the event and wrote the following that was sent out as a press release...thanks Eddy!

May 10, 2010

Event, which featured a Play Day, was held on Kessler Field on Saturday

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Monmouth University Department of Athletics Peer Leader Program and the Family Resource Associates (FRA) of Shrewsbury teamed up to help put on the ‘PossAbilities Walk’ and ‘Day of Sports Play with the Hawks’ at Kessler Field this past Saturday.

The event, which featured a mile walk with the student-athlete Peer Leaders and subsequent morning of different activities, such as soccer, kickball and an obstacle course, drew many local families and volunteers.

“We’re really excited because when we were approached by the Monmouth University student-athlete Peer Leaders we thought it was wonderful because we need ways to help bridge families together,” said Nancy Phalanukorn, Executive Director of the FRA. “When the children are young, they often only see each other in the home, and through events like this we want these families to come together and meet. All of the different Monmouth student-athletes came out and made this happen and it gives the kids a whole different feel.”

“Our goal through this event was to not only help the FRA raise money, but also to increase awareness both in the local community and on-campus,” said Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine and the Peer Leader advisor Doug Padron. “The student-athletes represented themselves and their teams very well at the event.”

The day began with a mile-long walk around the University’s E. Murray Todd Track at Kessler Field to help celebrate the abilities and accomplishments of children and adults with special needs in the community.

“It’s very rewarding to give back to the community and be able to put a smile on a kid’s face,” said Bryan Meredith, a junior on the men’s soccer team. “This event gives the kids a chance, at least for one day, to feel like a Division I athlete, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

After the walk, the student-athletes then broke into different stations, such as soccer, football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, kickball, on obstacle course and freeze dancing, and took turns playing with the kids.

“For me, I get to a play a sport and be a Division I athlete, but these kids don’t get to do that, to be a part of that is awesome,” said Olivia Salata, a sophomore on the lacrosse team. “We maybe take it for granted some days that we’re athletes, but I see these kids and I realize I have a great opportunity and I want them to have as much fun as I do every day.”

The FRA is a New Jersey non-profit agency located in Shrewsbury, helping children, adolescents and people of all ages with disAbilities to reach their fullest potential. FRA connects individuals to independence through modern therapies and advanced technology. Acknowledging the powerful influence of the family, we remain committed to them by offering both support and education.

FRA assists individuals of all ages who have developmental delays or disAbilities as well as acquired disAbilities. FRA provides home-based early intervention for infants, therapeutic recreation programs and assistive technology services, along with family and sibling support groups.

For more information about the FRA, visit their website at http://frainc.org/.


Rochelle said...

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Jenny said...

Thats awsome! Love the pic of him in the stroller with his hair blowing in the wind! So cute!

Sherry C said...

That is very cool! I love it! The picture of Colin and Evan is adorable.

Natalia said...

This is so incredible! I LOVE IT! I wish I had known...would we have been able to come??? Next time something like this comes up, let me know! I would love to see Colin in action! :)


Kelly said...

Wow, Kelli.....I just love hearing about all these wonderful events that you and your family have become involved with for that precious little guy of yours:) You're out there advocating and opening that huge door of possibilities for Colin and so many others! You inspire me:)

BTW, Colin just gets cuter and cuter every day:) LOVE him!! And, thanks for the info on the "ear bandit" for Landon! It worked like a charm, and he looked so cute with it on! I'll post a pic soon, so much to share and so little time.........sigh!!!

Kristin said...

Very cool.

Nana said...

Looks like it was a GREAT day!! What a wonderful idea and how wonderful to see young people get so involved! Love, Nana

Katie said...

I saw you posted on my blog, so I came to check yours out. Colin and Evan look like twins with that white blond hair. So cute and what a great idea and former boss!

Lori said...

Very cool!! And Colin looks way tough in his eye black! =)

Melissa M said...

This is such a cool event!!