One boy who could barely walk now runs to first base, and he’s one of many kids with disabilities who now get to play ball thanks to the support of one man.
“I think more people need to realize that we can make a difference, we’re the adults, we can make a difference for the children just give back a little bit,” said Chris Risola.
Risola is an inspiring man with a plan to “let kids be kids.”
“I like watching when kids go out and smile, and they laugh, and they give each other high fives,” he said.
Risola’s journey through baseball began at age five and now, as president of the Cal Ripken League, this is his passion.
“I really like teaching kids, passing down what I’ve learned.”
And he likes to include children that have to play differently.
“When I started as a coach, there was a little boy he had multiple sclerosis, then we got referred by the Golisano’s Children’s Hospital, his name is Ka’Doffee, he was hit by a car.”
If he can find them, or if they ask, he says they will get the kids trained and ready to play.
Since Risola believes that all children should be a part of the team, he created a nonprofit called “Let Kids Be Kids” which turns impossible into included.
He does that by creating opportunities for disabled athletes.
“Knowing their arm is getting better, watching and knowing themselves that they’re progressing,” Risola said.
He goes the extra mile to teach himself and others how to be inclusive.