Co-written by Wendy Zipes Hunter and Ken Webster
In the heart of Parkland, Florida, a story of compassion, growth, and community has been unfolding for over the past two decades. What started as a small initiative has now blossomed into a thriving program that brings families together from all corners of southeast Florida. The driving force behind this remarkable evolution? The dedicated members of Parkland Buddy Sports and their tireless efforts to foster inclusivity.
Over the years, the board of directors has played a pivotal role in expanding the reach of Parkland Buddy Sports. Their vision extended beyond local boundaries, reaching out to high schools in the tri-county region of southeast Florida. This strategic outreach aimed to attract student volunteers seeking to make a positive impact on the lives of the families with children who have special needs that the program serves.
One shining example of this collaboration is the partnership with Coral Springs Charter High School and its passionate teacher, Mickey Singer. As an advocate for community engagement, Mr. Singer made it a priority for his National Honor Society students to volunteer with Parkland Buddy Sports. Year after year, these students have proven to be exceptional volunteers, bringing enthusiasm and dedication to the program.
Looking towards the future, the Parkland Buddy Sports team envisions fostering and developing more relationships like the one with Coral Springs Charter High School. The goal for 2024 is to create new partnerships with high schools throughout the region, encouraging more students to become actively involved in making a difference in the lives of those with varying abilities.
Many board members have been with the program for over 15 years, passionately supporting the expansion of programs and special event offerings. Their dedication has been instrumental in making Parkland Buddy Sports the vibrant community it is today.
While initially focused on providing community service hours for high school teens, Parkland Buddy Sports emphasizes that the opportunity to volunteer is open to individuals of all ages. They actively seek adult volunteers eager to give back and make a meaningful contribution to the community either by way of time, talent or financial support.
The true magic of Parkland Buddy Sports lies in its diverse and committed volunteers, representing 60 plus local schools. These volunteers are the heartbeat of the program, infusing it with a spirit of inclusivity and kindness. The lessons learned during their time with Parkland Buddy Sports are carried forward by these young volunteers, who go on to spread the mission of inclusivity as they venture out into the world, making it a better and kinder place for all.
For more information about how to get involved with Parkland Buddy Sports, please visit our website www.parklandbuddysports.org.
We are always interested in registering new volunteers and welcoming new families to serve. Donations of time or money are gratefully received.