Austin Family was on hand to see the ground breaking for a new sports field for children with disabilities. The field will provide children with physical and intellectual disabilities a safe, barrier-free place to play team sports and participate in educational and character development programs.
The field is a four-year labor of love for John Lorek, who came up with the idea after hitting obstacles in finding a sports program for his own children with special needs. Lorek said he looked for a single organization that could accommodate his step-daughter’s intellectual disabilities, his son’s physical disabilities, and allow the entire family to participate. When he couldn’t find that, he set out to establish one.
“We’re the first organization in America that provides year-round sports activities to children with disabilities—and their siblings and their parents—free of charge,”he said of the organization he founded, Central Texas Ability Sports (CTX Ability Sports). He added that he hopes this field will inspire other organizations to begin adaptive, inclusive programs.
The field came together with the help of four distinct entities—CTX Ability Sports, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF), Chive Charities, and the Bridge Community Church—and is being built at the church’s new location on County Road 138 east of State Highway 130 in Williamson County.
“It’s an exciting day for us. We’re honored to host this field. We want to see children impacted and lives changed,” said David McLain, pastor of the Bridge Community Church.
Team sports provide opportunities for the children to grow physically, socially and emotionally, and allow them to build social skills through peer interaction, said officials with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
“It teaches them everything they need to know about life,”said Kevin Bingham, Chief Operating Officer of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “It teaches them that when they get knocked down, how to get back up. It teaches them that success comes through failing, and how to get along with others.”
“Chive Charities and theCHIVE are excited to be a part of a project as momentous as the building of KCCO Ability Field. We look forward to the day when the special needs children of Central Texas have a safe place to learn team skills and life lessons,” said Brian Mercedes, Executive Director of Chive Charities.
Lorek said the field will cost about $350,000 to build and should be finished in September.