The month of December kicked-off at Society with about 40 children playing with arrows, throwing adults and hitting a golf ball indoors. What made this day so amazing was that all of the kids were blind or had low vision and they were being introduced to the sports of Archery, Judo, Golf and Goalball.
This was our fourth year to host the MaraFUN Youth Paralympic Sport Experience in partnership with the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the Sacramento Paralympic Sport Club. All of the clinics were taught by Paralympians and World Champion athletes who donated their time to teach and inspire these young kids. The featured speaker of the day was Paralympic Cyclist, Shawn Cheshire, a former military member who was blinded by a traumatic brain injury. An outstanding athlete before her injury, Shawn told how her athlete friends got her back into sports which led her to find the courage and hope to rebuild her life.
As I observed the smiles and pure joy of the kids as they completed a throw of their Judo instructor or sent an arrow through a balloon on the target, it was clear that this is a day where these boys and girls get to play and have fun with abandon. Their siblings joined in on some of the activities too. Parents came up to me and said how happy they were to see their child having fun and making new friends.
Each year, I am reminded of the magic that is the MaraFUN Paralympic Event: kids tapping into their own potential, having fun, and making new friends. And who knows, maybe a future Paralympian was in attendance.