Local High School Sports Teams Receive Award for Displaying Why It’s Cool to Care!
There are thousands of lessons in life that one can learn. Some you fall into, others are cast upon you and some are placed before you. That is exactly what two local high school coaches did for their players. George Ranch High School Coaches Jared Sloan and Donna Vrba put the lessons of acceptance and understanding of the differently-able in front of their teams by allowing Griffin Clark, who has autism, an opportunity to be part of the team. Their willingness to BE the difference earned both coaches and their players the Hope for Three It’s Cool to Care Caring Friends Award.
Griffin, a 17 year old sports enthusiast, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 1/2, serves as assistant team manager for the Lady Longhorns Softball Team and leads the football team onto the gridiron before the games.
“I decided to get Griffin involved with our football team after having him in my class last year,” said Coach Sloan, Assistant Defensive Football Coach/World History and Psychology. “Our kids love having him in the tunnel and locker room. They embraced him and made him part of the team. It is great for our student body to see kids like Griffin be involved,” Sloan continued. Griffin’s assistance with the softball program also earned him the honor of lettering in softball. He wears his letterman’s jacket, proudly.
According to Hope for Three, its acts of kindness and inclusion like the George Ranch Football and Softball teams that encourage the community to do more and become more especially with autism awareness. It is by far the fastest growing childhood disorder, surpassing childhood diabetes and AIDS. Recent studies show that one in 50 school-age children are diagnosed with autism. There is no cure, but early intervention, inclusion, and acceptance are keys to making successful strides for many children and their families living with autism.
Griffin has a love for all sports. “He has heart for the gridiron without putting on the pads, shines like a diamond on the sandlot and is totally autism strong,” said Darla Farmer, Hope for Three Founder. “His unique ability, doesn’t keep him from enjoying what he loves. Both he and his family are an inspiration to hundreds of autism families in our community.”
Coach Sloan, Coach Vbra and both the football and softball teams received the Caring Friends Award during a recent Pep Rally at George Ranch High School. The Caring Friends Award is part of the Hope for Three It’s Cool to Care Program which is designed to educate, empower and enable youth to make positive contributions to the lives of other young people with unique differences – Autism.
For more information on how Hope for Three can bring the program to your school and share why autism acceptance, awareness, and understanding is important for the greater good of the community, call 1-800-317-0787 or visit www.hopeforthree.org
Pictured is Griffin Clark, a 17 year old with autism, leading the George Ranch High School Longhorns onto the football field. Clark shows how having autism is not a death sentence if given the chance to be accepted for who you are, given the opportunity to learn and support from a family who never gives up. Photo courtesy of Everett Timberlake. Video courtesy of Jerry Toups.
George Ranch High School Coaches Jared Sloan (Center) and Donna Vrba (not pictured) receive the Hope for Three It’s Cool to Care Caring Friends Award for displaying acts of kindness, acceptance and inclusion by having Griffin Clark (Letterman’s Jacket), who has autism, on their football and softball teams. Presenting the award: Hope for Three Development Director Angie Wierzbicki, Teen Council member Hannah Pryzbilla, Founder Darla Farmer, and Teen Council member Faye James. Photo courtesy of Brenda Perry. Video courtesy of Jerry Toups.
Media Contact: Darla Farmer, 713-858-7965, firstname.lastname@example.org