The Hudson cheer team, including members Johanne Egeland, Molly Morris, Allie Factor, Gabrielle Gedeon, Kelsey Tetmeyer, Lindsey Buehl, and Brooke Zubal arrived early in the morning Aug. 24 at the City of Independence's Zuber Field ready to play softball with the City's ICAN! Team, a team of teens and young adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities.
Seventeen ICAN! athletes welcomed the cheer team to join their teams and play right along with them. The girls were surprised at the level of skill the athletes demonstrated as homeruns were hit, double plays were made and everyone cheered for one another. The Cheer Team ran the line-up, helped the ICAN! athletes with their equipment, batted and played in the field all the while high-fiving and cheering on every run batted in. After the game, everyone made their way over to the Elmwood Park Pool for lunch provided by the cheer team and some cool down time in the pool. ICAN! thanked the cheer team with an ice cream treat and invited them to come back "soon"!
The parents and caregivers of the ICAN! athletes could not have been happier with the event.
Compliments included from various parents, "It is refreshing to see these high school students make an effort to develop friendships with our participants. It is not only a good experience for our athletes, it also opens the eyes and hearts of the students. They learn to appreciate value and respect people with disabilities as they become comfortable and familiar with one another. We hope the girls will come back and become part of our social network."
One parent was quoted as saying "Kudos to the entire Hudson cheer team for taking the time to serve others."
ICAN! is a City of Independence Recreational Program that has been in existence since 2008. ICAN! stands for Independence Community Adapted Network. It is a network of City of Independence employees, businesses, community members, parents, family members, caregivers and district employees working together to support the development of low-cost recreational, fitness and social programming for those with a variety of developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities ages 10 and above. The main focus and mission of the program is to provide social and learning opportunities.
For specific information regarding programming see the current ICAN! page in the Spotlight at www.independenceohio.org