“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” echoed through the Constellation Stadium on Sunday for Hope For Three’s fifth annual “Strike Out Autism” grand slam event, presented by the Fred & Mabel R. Parks Foundation.
The family fun day included an Autism Awareness Parade with 700 family members and volunteers; a video presentation, including a few words from Gov. Greg Abbott; a proclamation reading by Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert; 18 city mayors and representatives recognized; and a baseball game between the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Bridgeport Bluefish.
A silent auction and special game day jersey auction benefiting Hope For Three also took place. Twenty-nine custom designed jerseys worn by the Skeeters players and coaches were auctioned off, raising $6,720.
The first pitch was thrown by Lakin Montgomery. She was preceded by what was described as an “ausome” performance of the National Anthem sung by Anne Marie Buckle, accompanied by a very special band from Launch Academy.
Hope For Three Executive Director Darla Farmer shared a few words with attendees.
“We began Hope For Three in 2011 because of my friends, the Montgomery family — the inspiration behind Hope For Three,” she said.
“Since then, this journey has been unimaginable. Through the generosity of this community, Hope For Three has witnessed first-hand the impact of what autism awareness, acceptance and action have on the families we serve.”
A video clip was presented that showcased the personal journeys of families dealing with autism.
“Although the children in the video are now older, challenges are a little different and the moments of triumphs come a little more often,” noted Farmer.
“What is clear is there are thousands more that are beginning the autism journey or transitioning to the teen years and adulthood. The need is great and we could not provide help or create hope without you.”
Foster High School special-ed teacher and in-home trainer Tammy Green came to enjoy the festivities with the Montgomery triplets who inspired the creation of the nonprofit foundation: Lakin, Londyn and Lauren.
“It actually is my first time coming,” she shared. “It was really nice. Strike Out Autism helps make the public aware of so many people who are diagnosed with autism.
“It’s an activity out in the community making so many people aware along with food and fun.”
Green said she plans on attending the annual event again and being the Montgomery triplets’ in-home trainer for a long time.
“I’ve been their home-trainer for, oh my goodness, maybe six or seven years,” she said. “I plan on [staying] with them. The mom is the founder of Hope for Three. They call them the three divas,” she shared with a laugh.
As the event came to a close, Farmer announced that the Hope For Three volunteers are officially benched, yet are already planning draft picks for the 2018 Season.
Farmer noted everyone’s attendance and participation helped inspire not only volunteers, mayors and other elected officials, “but our community by making a positive impact in raising awareness and increasing understanding and acceptance.”
“The fifth annual Strike Out Autism Family Fun Day was an incredible day with remarkable people. Over 300 team players (volunteers), young and seasoned, stepped up to the plate and provided what started out as a simple act of volunteering, to creating an awe-inspiring day filled with sunshine, smiles, laughter and acceptance.
“We hope our families experienced the same… We know autism comes in many forms, but on Sunday, we did not see autism. We saw children, parents and volunteers unite as one.
“Together, we will continue this journey to spread awareness, take action and stand up and be the difference for our unique and differently able children.”
Hope For Three