Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Amazing Kids! of the Month for May, 2003:
Amazing "Buddy Ball" Buddy, Brittany Colon; Egg Harbor,
Quotes of the Month:
"One of the greatest things you can do in life is help others! I truly believe that the handicapped and mentally challenged people around us are all angels sent from heaven to help show us the way here on Earth."
Colon, age 11
This month's Amazing Kid! of the Month is a real "buddy" to many children who have developmental disabilities but still love to participate in sports. Thanks to 11 year old Brittany Colon and others like her, these kids can enjoy all the fun of sports and competion like other kids.
Read Brittany's story below and see why we think she is an amazing young person for caring about helping other kids who face special challenges. Who knows? You may get inspired to start your own Buddy Ball chapter in your community and help some kids with special needs enjoy sports too!
And don't forget,
if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project
you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to
tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it!
Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing
projects they are working on too! Simply complete a nomination
form for an Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email
Amazing "Buddy" Brittany
Brittany Colon is an active 11 year old sixth grader from Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. Like many kids, she enjoys participating in sports and loves animals. She also loves participating in competitions. In 2002, Brittany was the winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off for Kids in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is saving the money she won in the contest and will use it to help pay for her college education and her first car. Brittany was also fortunate to participate in the Pre-Teen America Scholarship and Recognition Program for the past three years and will be traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas this Summer for the national competition!
With all her extra curricular activities, you might think she is too busy to volunteer her time to help others. But not Amazing Brittany! She still finds the time to volunteer for Buddy Ball, a program that matches developmentally and physically disabled kids with volunteers who help them participate in sports! In fact, along with her schoolwork, Brittany says Buddy Ball is her number one priority.
Brittany's mom, Patty, says: "For the past three years, Brittany has been volunteering her time with Buddy Ball and enjoying every minute of it. She has given up school dances and birthday parties with her friends because they interfere with her Buddy Ball schedule. Her involvement with Buddy Ball has led her to decide to pursue a career in teaching the handicapped when she is older. The experience and knowledge she is gaining now while volunteering with Buddy Ball will prepare her for the future."
"I think I have a big heart like my Mom which helps. There are a lot of kids in school who make fun of people with disabilities. Hopefully, they will never become disabled themselves someday. I love working with others and doing Buddy Ball. If you have a bad day or if you are upset, the kids make you happy. It's amazing, but you have kids in wheelchairs and some that are mentally handicapped and you would think they would be depressed because they can't do everything that we as healthy kids do, but they are never, ever upset. They are always so happy.
"I am fortunate that God made me healthy and I want to help others enjoy life, even if it is only in a small way like helping them throw a basketball or push them around the bases at the baseball game. What's also special about playing at Buddy Ball is that unlike when I play soccer in the leagues, nobody at Buddy Ball is a ball hog. They don't know what it is to be selfish. It's a whole different world. I am truly blessed each and every time I help out.
"It would be great if more communities offered Buddy Ball or some sort of organized sports for the handicapped. We may not all be born healthy, but I think everyone deserves a chance to play a game with others and learn what it feels like to be on a team and win a game. It is very rewarding and I highly recommend all healthy kids out there to volunteer their time to make a difference in this world we live in!
"As it says in the
Bible at Philippians 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth
About Buddy Ball
The Buddy Ball Sports League was established back in September of 1995 by Richard L. DeFeo. Rich has coached baseball, softball, soccer and basketball, and his children have enjoyed organized sports since they were five years old. His inspiration for Buddy Ball came from a friend and fellow coach, who had a son born with cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair. The child had never had the opportunity to play organized sports.
Rich put his ideas, time and efforts together to create a sport league to serve youths with handicaps in the Tri-County Area (in Southern New Jersey). To date, there are over 300 children with ages ranging from 4 years to 20 years old with every type of disability participating! They now have the opportunity to hit a home run, shoot a basket, kick a goal or bowl that strike, all because of the Buddy Ball Sports League. The League's goal is to give ALL children that have a mental and/or physical disability the same opportunity to play recreational sports as their peers. Their mission: "To Give All Children The Opportunity To Play Recreational Sports No Matter What Their Ability!"
A unique twist to this league are the "Buddies," boys and girls who are not disabled. The Buddies often establish a friendship with the children, creating an atmosphere of understanding between children with disabilities and children without disabilities. More than 700 Buddies have been involved with the program since its inception.
In the photo shown above, Lia and Jamie, two older girls who have been involved with Buddy Ball since the start, are standing in front of a table of trophies which are donated every year (as well as the toys for their big annual Christmas Party) from the Cruisin' Classics Auto Club.
According to Patty Colon, Brittany's mother, "The Cruisin' Classics Auto Club donate the trophies for the participants and we hand them out at a big barbeque in the summer. The kids are always sooo excited to get the trophies and ribbons!"
Buddy Ball has also attracted the interest of children from surrounding counties in New Jersey who travel to Atlantic County in order to be able to play sports. They hope to someday be able to take our concept and establish leagues in other counties.
Buddy Ball is also in the process of raising funds needed to build a large recreational facility which will also have schooling and medical needs for the disabled. In this way, Buddy Ball will have its own "home" and not need the services of area schools. There are already physicians, nurses and teachers who are eager to volunteer their services.
To find out how to make a donation or start a Buddy Ball chapter in your area, check out their website at: www.buddyball.org
Keep up the amazing work, Brittany! You are an inspiration!
For more information:
For more information about Buddy Ball, visit their website at:
Buddy Ball website: www.buddyball.org
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities: www.nichcy.org/
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/default.htm
Facts about developmental disabilities: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dd/
National Center for Learning Disabilities: www.ncld.org/
for Exceptional Children: www.cec.sped.org/ab/
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