By Gerri Miller
Elmore/Autauga Staff Writer
Sixteen resource providers for individuals with special needs provided vital information to families while a crowd cheered the participants playing baseball Saturday on Prattville’s Field of Dreams.
The event sprung from an idea Amber Lovelady had in 2018. She wanted to find a way to simplify finding resources while bringing help, education, and fun to the special needs community.
The result was a dedicated group called Resource Roundup. Twice a year, the organization partners with the Prattville YMCA to showcase what resources are available in the River Region. This event was called “Resources in the Outfield.”
Prattville YMCA’s Field of Dreams (which is a special needs baseball, kickball and camp program) had baseball games throughout the day, alongside various resources, organizations, and agencies. There were six food vendors, face painting tables by Real Life Church and games for children.
“Our thought was that having this event during these baseball games will demonstrate abilities and not disabilities,” Lovelady said. “Who knows, it may inspire more people to join this amazing program.”
June Dorough, the YMCA’s special needs coordinator, said the event was important because it gets valuable information on available resources for special needs out to individuals and their families.
“Lots of times they don’t know where to look and there are so many resources out there for them,” Dorough said.
Some of the organizations and events represented Saturday included:
OFF (Outdoor Friends Forever) – Provides hunting and fishing weekends for individuals with special needs and their families. www.outdoorfriendsforever.com
Dream Court – An adaptive tennis program for individuals with special needs. There are spring, fall and summer camps. Call (334) 424-2980 or email email@example.com
Angels Among Us – A community with a mission to promote a fun positive atmosphere for children with special needs or developmental delays. Opportunities such as pageants are offered so that they can interact and be involved in activities that are not normally available to them. A pageant will be held in September. For more information, call 334-430-2991 or 205-299-3457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meredith Mitchell’s Methods – Mitchell, a special education teacher with more than 20 years of experience, is available to help guide parents through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process. Call (334) 549-1960 or email at Meredithmitchell2009@gmail.com
Alabama ABLE Savings Plan – ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts help people with disabilities save money without jeopardizing means-tested benefits such as SSI or Medicaid. For more information, contact Anita Kelley at 334-242-7515 or email her at ABLE@treasury.alabama.gov
EVOLVE– Music therapy to assist special needs individual with increasing communication, gross and fine motor development, spatial awareness, social interaction and language development. Summer camps are planned from June 8th through July 27th. For more information, call 334-595-5773 or visit www.evolvemusictherapy.com
Autauga County Transportation – Offers transportation services to rural residents of Autauga County. For more information, call 334-358-6730.
Field of Dreams – Offers baseball, kickball and ability sports clinics. There is also a special needs summer day camp for kindergarten through sixth-grade students. The league serves children and adults ages 5 to 65+. For more information, contact June Dorough at 334-558-1367 or email her at email@example.com
Autauga County Children’s Policy Council – helps low-income families provide memorable experiences for their children. www.autaugachildrenspolicycouncil.org
Dogs on Call – A community service organization that trains and certifies therapy dogs and handlers. Call 334-395-4489 or visit www.dogsoncall.com
New Hope Academy – Provides a hands-on approach to teach children who may learn differently. Call 334-361-9505 or visit www.newhope4kids.com
Regional Autism Network – Provides professional training programs, public education programs, technical assistance and consultation services, and individual and direct family assistance in the home, community and school. Call 334-844-2004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Savannah’s Hope – Building housing for those with special needs who want to live independently. Call 334-717-3871 or visit www.savannahshope.org
Louise Smith Development Center – Educates, trains, supports, and advocates for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Call 334-364-4054 or visit www.awearc.org
Alabama Parent Education Center – Can provide individual help and consultation for a child’s IEP, 504 or other early learning, educational or transition planning. Call 334-567-2252 or visit www.alabamaparentcenter.com