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Western Kentucky Visits with Kelly Autism Program


WKUAutismBOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The WKU baseball team spent some time giving back to the community Thursday afternoon as they welcomed students from the local Kelly Autism Program to Nick Denes Field.

The student athletes took a break from their fall practice to play catch and interact with students from the program. The students spent time learning about the game of baseball and even got the chance to step inside the batting cage and take some swings.

The experience was an impactful one for both the Hilltoppers and the students from KAP.

“It just means so much to them because they are so often excluded in everything else that to be included in such a special way, for any typical developing kid would mean a lot, but for these kids it just means the world to them,” KAP volunteer Amanda Gorski said.

After giving the students from KAP a quick lesson in baseball, one of the KAP students gave WKU freshman Justin Hageman a lesson in dance moves. Every moment of the visit was enjoyed by all.

“It is great because as athletes in college, these guys are perceived as role models and so it is good to give back and brighten these kids day,” WKU assistant coach Blake Allen said. “Playing catch with them, taking some swings and showing them a little bit about the game of baseball, our guys were having a good time. Most important are the smiles you see on the kid’s faces and our guys as well, it just brightens everyone’s day.”

Kelly Autism Program is designed to provide services to adolescents and young adults diagnosed along the Autism Spectrum Continuum, as well as their families, while serving as a training opportunity for future professionals in a variety of disciplines. KAP has programs for middle school, high school and post-secondary participants including higher education, vocational training, and job support.

Their mission is to provide an educational, social and supportive environment so that adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder can achieve their potential as independent, productive and active community citizens.

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