Even though the Rockford Rams volleyball team won the OK Red tournament this past Saturday in Grand Haven, the most memorable and rewarding day took place three days prior, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 in Rockford. The Rams varsity team joined with several Rockford student VIPs, not just to work together on volleyball skills, but more importantly to share companionship, laughter and the experiences of newfound friendships—the friendships and experiences created by Special Treasures.
Special Treasures was founded two years ago by Rockford parents Amy Kelley and Cindy Quinn. This organization is made up of parents of children with special needs. The mission of Special Treasures is to enrich the lives of children with special needs by providing education, resources and support while giving hope for brighter tomorrows.
“The need for more activities for these kids became apparent very quickly to us,” said Kelley. “Several of our parents organized fun activities, but we needed to find ways to provide more sports activities for the kids.”
The magic of this organization only continued to broaden when Special Treasures partnered with Rockford Athletes with a Mission of Service (R.A.M.S.). R.A.M.S was organized by Rockford resident Tom Carlson with the objective of having Rockford student-athletes contribute to the betterment of their community through charitable functions, volunteerism and the investment of their time in helping others.
“I approached Tom with the idea of joining together to have a basketball clinic for the kids using the varsity boys and girls basketball teams last year,” said Kelley. “Thanks to Tom and all the Rockford teams and coaches, the clinics went so well we wanted to expand this to even more sports.”
When Rockford Head Volleyball Coach Kelly Delacher was asked of his interest in having his squad participate in Special Treasures, Delacher was thrilled with the opportunity.
“When we were approached to run a clinic with the kids, I thought it was a great idea. Our team has such great role models that I thought it would be an incredible experience for everyone,” said Delacher. “The kids just gravitated to the players. I took a great deal of pride in watching three of the varsity players start up an actual two-on-two game with one boy who was picking up the skills very fast. I also saw a couple of our girls showing concern and getting one boy to come out from behind the bleachers when he was nervous to pass the balloon to them. It was a night I will treasure as much as any of the wins we’ve had this season.”
This night was originally planned by Special Treasures and Rockford volleyball for a special group of young students. By the end of the practice clinic, it was obvious the impact of this event reached far beyond and has left lifelong impressions on all the people in attendance on this memorable night in the Rockford High School gym.