Jacob’s Chance is a not-for-profit organization in Richmond that runs River City Buddy Ball. Buddy Ball gives kids with special needs an opportunity to play sports with the help of a partner, or “buddy.” Some of the sports include basketball, baseball, and tennis. They change each season. I became involved in the program as a buddy for the first time this winter and got to play basketball with so many great kids. I also know many people who participated in River City Buddy Ball both as players and helpers, including my friends Michael Bone and Ryan Singer.
Michael Bone is a student who participates as a “buddy” in this program. Since fall of 2016, he has been a part of this program and helps with basketball.
“It started out as a way to get community service hours, but now it is a way to hang out, play sports, and make new friends,” said Bone.
Even in the short amount of time that he has been participating in the program, he has developed an unbreakable bond with one of the players, Okie S.
Bone has made numerous memories while participating in the program.
“When one of the kids hits a half-court shot, it brings a smile to everyone’s faces, especially mine,” said Bone.
Another student who takes part in River City Buddyball is Ryan Singer. He has participated in the program since the fall. Over the months that he has been volunteering, he has developed friendships with two of the players: John and Case.
“I was helping Case with football, and he scored a touchdown. Case then said, ‘I did it, Ryan, I did it!’ That made me so happy. Although I have only seen John a few times during basketball, I feel like we’ve become good friends,” said Singer.
Singer says that he is going to continue helping out.
“It is good for the community and it makes me feel good, especially when I make my buddy laugh,” said Singer.
In my experience helping with basketball, I have learned some important skills, such as kindness and tolerance. This was my first time volunteering with people my own age who have special needs. I learned that if you are kind to the players and are happy to be there, they are too. I have met quite a few people through the program, and have enjoyed spending time with each and every one of them. Spending my Saturday mornings at Buddy Ball is something that I will always enjoy doing, with new memories made every time. Even with all of my many activities, I hope to continue participating. Buddy Ball is one of those experiences that I will never forget. Jacob’s Chance runs a truly amazing program!
Buddy Ball offers many sports throughout the year. To get involved, visit the Jacob’s Chance website, www.jacobschance.org.
Drew Greene is a 9th grader at Deep Run High School. He is the son of Tricia Greene, our Community Outreach Coordinator. Drew is on the staff of the Deep Run HS newspaper, The Sentinel.