By Niagara University
For the second consecutive year, members of the NU men’s basketball team volunteered with Central Amherst Little League’s Challenger Division to assist baseball players with disabilities. The week before, the Purple Eagles had completed disability awareness training with Dave Whalen, project director, disability awareness training, and NU’s ADA coordinator, who runs the league.
“Disability awareness is more than training; it is interacting with the disability community and getting to know people for who they are,” Whalen said.
Head coach Greg Paulus and assistant coach Kevin Devitt accompanied the team for the July 23 event. The basketball players were partnered with 84 baseball players in three levels – minors (4-10), majors (10-18) and seniors (18-plus) – to assist, as needed, with fielding.
“This is the second year in a row Dave Whalen guided our program in disability awareness training, and our team joined the Central Amherst League Challenger Division,” Paulus said. “When our players returned to campus this summer, they asked if we could participate in the baseball league again because they had so much fun building relationships with the ball players and bringing joy to others.
“The Niagara way is holistic development. It is learning from others and making a positive impact in the community, on campus, in the classroom, and on the basketball court. We are proud to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It was an incredible experience, and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.”
The Challenger Division is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for children and adults with physical and developmental challenges. The Central Amherst league began in 1991.