Special Treasures

Special Treasures scores win with Rockford volleyball

November 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Hoopsters with heart volunteer time for kids

January 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

by MELISSA UTTER  Our Ram basketball players are ferocious on the court. Don’t tell the opposing teams this secret, though: those Ram players are softies with hearts of pure gold. Special Treasures is a group of parents and caregivers of children who have physical, cognitive, social and medical differences. This group meets once per month to support, educate, encourage and share resources with other parents who have children with “diff-abilities.” Special Treasures’ children received the gift of time from both the girls and the boys basketball teams over Christmas break. Tom Carlson, who guides Rockford Athletes with a Mission of Service (RAMS), along with Amy Kelley, one of the founders of the Special Treasures group, coordinated a two-day basketball clinic. The clinic was free to the participants, as all of the athletes and coaches generously gave of their time to enrich the lives of these children. The first day involved the girls basketball team, and the second afternoon was reserved for the boys team to serve this special population. Varsity players were poised and patient with the Special Treasures children. The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm. It was obvious that the children were star struck with the wonderful abilities of the players. A three-point shootout, two-handed dribbling demonstration and slam dunk exhibition had the children cheering. The Special Treasures children were able to participate in a skills clinic that allowed them to play at individual levels that best fit their development. Rockford players then signed t-shirts and autograph pages for the Special Treasures kids. The basketball teams’ fan base grew quite a bit those two afternoons. Parents were so grateful for the opportunity for their children to participate in a sports clinic where competition was not stressed, but camaraderie was king. There are few athletic opportunities for children with special needs. The Special Treasures group is working to change that. Partnerships in the past to provide athletic opportunities included archery at the Rockford Sportsman’s Club and Wolverine baseball and now the recent partnership with RAMS and Rockford athletics. Generous donations of time and talents make these opportunities possible for children who are not able to typically participate in regular athletics. The group has expressed an interest in exposing the Special Treasures children to a variety […]