Students with special needs learn basics of baseball

Challenger Day returns to Henrico

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Baseball is on a lot of minds this week as the Nationals are headed to the 2019 World Series but in Richmond, students from 23 elementary schools in Henrico got to feel like all-stars themselves on Thursday.

Students took part in Challenger Day, an annual event that introduces students with disabilities to the fundamentals of baseball.

“It’s just such a fun event. He loves the positive feedback and all of the cheering and support that he gets from the volunteers," said Mary Curtis Powell, a mother of a student.

“It’s a blessing to me to see him having a good time with his friends,” said mom, Latasha Brooks

Dozen of buses from the 23 Henrico County elementary schools lined up for the annual Challenger Day.

“I hope that these kids get treated like royalty and they just feel on top of the world,” said founder of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Gail Henshaw.

The annual fun-filled day is full of cheers and support as students get a chance to learn the fundamentals of baseball.

“My late husband coached baseball and softball for 25 years up here at Tuckahoe Little League, and he wanted to combine his love of education and sports,” said Henshaw.

Challenger Day is an offshoot of the Challenger Division of Little League Baseball, a league for children with cognitive and physical disabilities.

“It’s a good chance for them to be outside and get some fresh air and physical activity, and meet people from other schools,” said Powell.

The students participate in activities where they learned to pitch, hit, catch and also take some time for arts and crafts.

Parents like Powell and Brooks say they couldn’t be happier to have an event like this in Henrico.

“I’ve never seen him play baseball before but he had a ball out there it was amazing,” said Brooks.

The event had roughly 370 students in attendance.

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