On Wednesday, May 15th, the Portland High School baseball and softball programs hosted a truly special event. The Raiders hosted a group of young people with special needs in coordination with No More Sidelines of Central Michigan, a group committed to promoting inclusive activities for children with disabilities.
No More Sidelines is in its 10th year of service and is led by Scott and Jennifer Koenigsknecht, and their family of Fowler.
When asked about the group, Jennifer Koenigsknecht said, “Our non-profit organization, No More Sidelines of Central Michigan has coordinated several inclusive softball clinics with the Portland Raider boys and girls teams over our decade of existence. The clinics typically include anywhere from 20-30 participants with special needs, of all ages, and their siblings are always welcome to participate as well. We begin our evenings with a Little Caesar's pizza dinner for all the NMS participants, their families, and the athletes and coaches of Portland High. A usual group of 100-125 join us for a few hours of friendship, socialization in a fully inclusive environment. As our tagline states, there truly are "no more sidelines," as everyone is invited to participate, despite their disability.”
Varsity Softball Coach Jack Anderson has served as the lead in coordinating the event on behalf of PHS. Anderson said, “It is one of those programs that we have been very fortunate to host here at Portland. We are hosting it for them but our kids are getting a lot more out of it then they are. Our kids get an opportunity to see kids who don’t have the advantages that they do, and they can go out and enjoy being with them. It is just a great opportunity.” Anderson believes this year was the fourth or fifth time PHS has hosted the group, and that other attempts have been rained out.
You can find more information about No More Sidelines of Central Michigan at their website, www.nmscentralmi.com.
Photos courtesy of No More Sidelines of Central Michigan.