Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 26, 2010

Optimist Miracle Movers look for members

By Brenda L. Holmes

PLAINFIELD — Activities for special needs children are the main focus for Optimist Miracle Movers, but organizers need help to get the group officially going in Hendricks County.

 Jackie Parrish and Melissa Dickinson, both parents of special needs children and residents of Plainfield, said they were encouraged to start an organization.

“I got a call from John Reel of the Plainfield Optimists about a Buddy Ball game,” Parrish said.

She said Reel encouraged her to organize a group through the Plainfield Optimist Club. Soon, the Optimist Miracle Movers was born.

The name comes from parents of special needs children who want their “miracles” to get moving, play sports, and have fun together.

The group is already organizing exhibition softball games for 6:30 p.m. May 21 ant 9:30 a.m. May 22 at the Hummel Park ball diamonds.

The games are designated for special needs children ages 4 to 22 with physical or mental disabilities. Each special needs child is paired with an individual or “buddy.”

The games are free to all participants. And since it’s an exhibition, organizers are able to accommodate the first 20 players who sign up for each game.

“We encourage anyone to come out to the games,” Parrish said. “When you see the kids in action, it’s so much fun. You can just see how much they enjoy it.”

Parrish said there are several volunteer opportunities available.

“We will need volunteers to be buddies for the kids and others to help organize,” she added.

And softball is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We want to organize several different exhibition events, not just softball,” Dickinson said. “We want to do golf, basketball, soccer, yoga, just about anything.”

Deer Creek Golf Course has already agreed to host an exhibition golf tournament for the Optimist Miracle Movers.

“To start a club, we need 25 members,” Parrish said.

Dickinson said the group has found a sponsor that will pay the initial $400 plus $1 for each member start-up costs.

“Members will need to pay a one-time $30 fee and pay $72 a year in dues to the Optimist Club itself. That money goes to Optimist International.”

The next Optimist Miracle Movers meeting is 7 p.m. April 27 at the Hummel Park Community Center in Plainfield.

Organizers are hoping to have enough interested individuals at that meeting to official vote the group into existence.

“We feel there is a great need for an organization who focuses on special needs programming,” Dickinson said. “There’s just not much out there for kids with disabilities.”

Parrish said she is encouraged about the response so far and has high hopes for the new organization.

“There are a lot of families who have children with disabilities,” she said. “People just don’t realize it. And they want to interact just like any typical kid.”

The group is focusing on Hendricks County right now, but members hope to expand to offer activities throughout Central Indiana.

For more information, contact Dickinson by calling 525-8446 or by e-mailing to melkd@live.com or Parrish by calling 839-7800 or e-mailing to jackiep356@aol.com.

More information is also available online at www.optimistmiraclemovers.com. Registration forms for the softball games are available on the website.