Alumni: Past Events

Winter 2011

HOBY’s Winter Reunion happened January 8th, hosted by Mr. Dave Ward at his ”future home” in Phoenix, MD. Mr. Ward is a quadriplegic of more than 30 years, and yet has been exceptionally active in the community as a volunteer, public servant, and particularly a voice for the disabled. Alumni gathered for pizza and socialization, and then were treated to a visit with Mr. Ward and a tour of his home. Mr. Ward shared his stories of heroics and sacrifice, but most of all, service, as alumni came to learn the challenges within the disabled community. Then, alumni went through the home noting how “normal” it seemed, but was full of designs of “universal access”: simple discreet handrails, moving tables and cupboards, easily moved doorknobs, voice remote activation, and auditory feedback. Built so that the average person would barely notice the accommodations, but so the disabled would feel fully at ease, the home showed how proper planning can make everyone comfortable.

Fall 2010

Alumni had the unique opportunity to reach out to people that we usually don't have a chance to work with - KEEN (or, Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) Greater DC: disabled teens. On November 14, 2010 at Tilden Middle School, alumni volunteered to be 'coaches' for teens whose disabilities ranged from cerebral palsy to autism. KEEN focuses on helping these usually ostracized teens find a place where they can socialize with people their age, have fun, and get exercise. The day was divided into a volunteer training and two sessions.

Alumni were “alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic” … even though we started early. The teens are called 'athletes' like HOBY calls our sophomore’s “ambassadors.” HOBY alumni learned about the goals and history of KEEN as well as basic tactics to help them more effectively coach challenging athletes. Basic bios for each athlete were passed out and included information about the likes, dislikes, disability, and goals for each athlete to help the coach. Once the athletes arrived, the quiet gym turned into a bustling center of activity almost instantly! Coaches played basketball or soccer with their athletes, while others led their athletes around on scooters or took them on walks around the school. After an hour session, each coach helped their athlete tell the gathered group what they were proud of achieving that day. For some, it was as simple as walking around the school, while others were proud of the number of goals they had scored against their coach in a miniature soccer match. After a quick break, another set of bios were handed out, and it all happened again! Some athletes were more challenging to work with than others. Volunteering was certainly eye opening. At HOBY we work with teens but we rarely work with disabled teens, and with KEEN it exposed alumni to a new learning and growing experience as we helped the athletes develop skills, enhance their self esteem, and have a chance to really have fun with people their own age. In short, the Fall Reunion was about doing what we all strive to do in our daily lives: share the HOBY spirit!