The following is a letter from a BORP parent to the Executive Director, Rick Smith.
Dear Rick: I just wanted to tell you and the Board how much BORP has meant to us. When Ben was first injured I organized every aspect of his life - I was like a hovercraft parent. As Ben grew up, using a wheelchair to get around, I made sure I was always nearby to help him. A day didn’t go by without me wondering about Ben’s future and how I could always be there.
When Ben was eleven years old we brought Ben to his first basketball practice at BORP, and it proved to be a great learning experience for both Ben and me. I was shocked when Trooper Johnson, the Youth Sports Coordinator at BORP, had all the kids get out of their chairs and moved the chairs away from them and then told them to get back in their chairs, unassisted! I had to fight against all of my instincts not to run onto the court to help my son. But then Ben did it. By himself! It was an incredible moment for both of us.
Ever since, Ben has been developing skills, confidence, and independence that he will carry with him throughout his life.And I have learned a lot, too. I thought Ben would always need extra help, but he’s a normal teenage boy - the independence and confidence he now has is amazing. In the years since that first practice, BORP has become an integral part of Ben’s life. "I feel like I really belong here," he says. "At school all my friends are able-bodied, but it’s cool to be around people who are like me. To do things with other people with disabilities and succeed together."
Sports have become an avenue to greater achievement for Ben. Not just in basketball, but in life. He’s much more independent at home and at school. Last summer Ben traveled to Missouri University with a BORP teammate for a basketball camp. I let him go on his own. And now he’s started to look into colleges with wheelchair basketball programs.
BORP has made this possible – please accept our most sincere gratitude for everything you have done. I am so appreciative of everything Trooper and BORP have done for my son. Ben’s future is bright and full of possibility. He has all the skills he needs to succeed thanks to the generosity of people at BORP.