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The Indians partnered with Our Lady of the Wayside, Rising Star, and the Strike Force Baseball Academy to host a Dream Day Experience at Progressive Field yesterday for a group of baseball fans with developmental disabilities.
The group completed a series of baseball activities focused on different aspects of the sport, including pitching and fielding drills, and a unique batting practice in the outfield. Jonathan Schulz is a coach at the Strike Force Baseball Academy and served as Camp Director for the day, after helping to plan the event with the Indians over the last eight months.
“The idea was to make everyone seem like they were a pro today,” said Schulz. “Regardless of age, regardless of ability level – just to come out and have fun with smiles and laughter – everybody is just having a blast, and that’s the most we can ask for.”
After being approached by Schulz about the Dream Day event, the Indians reached out to Our Lady of the Wayside – a long-time partner of the organization that works to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities – to gauge their interest in participating.
“We have a lot of individuals that we care for who are huge Tribe fans, so it took about a minute to get the number of people that we needed to complete the day,” said Meg Downey – the Director of Specialized Services at Wayside. “Our partner in this is Rising Star, and they take care of children with Cerebral Palsy. They were able to bring some of the kids down and I can’t tell you how grateful we are.”
Earlier this summer, the Indians partnered with Majestic Steel to host a group from the “Up to Bat” program at Progressive Field, and the club hopes to hold similar events in the future. Dream Day participants and organizers agreed they would welcome another opportunity to play on the major league diamond.
Schulz concluded, “[It’s great] to come out here after putting the details together over the last several months, and have it all culminate in today’s event. It is a first-time thing, and we hope to continue for years to come, and continue to grow.”