In 2003, I had the privilege of sponsoring a developmentally challenged young man to the National Unified Bowling Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee. This individual was around 16 years of age at the time, and to my knowledge had never been away for a purely fun trip in his entire life. He lived in a group home and had just taken up bowling so he would have something to do for fun. Plus, he was having disciplinary problems and his house parents that bowling might help in some way. As it turned out, when people became aware of his background, they shunned him and did not want him on their team.
About this same time, I had begun bowling again because of a very dear friend, Blanche Payne. Blanche asked me to join her and her handicapped daughter on what was then only Unified Bowling League in Mobile, Alabama. I think she somehow knew that once I met this young man, I would not be able to resist being this problem child’s coach.
So together we started on a journey that fall which would eventually lead our team to Knoxville, Tennessee for the National Unified Bowling Tournament. That trip left a lasting impression on me that will never go away. We all had a great time and felt so blessed to have experienced this event together. Even as years passed, we would think about that trip and laugh like it was just yesterday.
I returned several times to this national event and would see the same faces year after year. I kept thinking there are lots of handicapped citizens here in my local area that would not just enjoy but would be thrilled to take the trip of their lifetime if only someone would help them get there. That started me thinking about what I could do for these special athletes every year.
In 2004 Blanche Payne and I started Special Needs Athletes Programs of Alabama, or SNAP of Alabama for short. Our mission was to make available a community of special athletes to play a recreational sport with others of the same skill level. We were successful in making this dream reality. Today we have many special athletes bowling in our leagues every year. We cannot wait to see what the future has in store. Join our leagues as a coach or special athlete. Join our mission to continue building a community of special athletes. Donate or sign-up today!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 251-366-9978
- Address: 2868 Mill St. Mobile, AL 36607, United States
SNAP is an IRS approved 501(c)3 charity