JS: How did you get Adoptive Sports KC started, and what’s your passion behind it?
MH: I started Adaptive Sports KC after a year of being a competitive adaptive athlete. I had met Oscar Loreto Jr. at the Extremity Games 8 in San Marcos Texas. We competed in Skateboarding Elite against each other.
He had invited me to another event/competition in Venice Beach California called Life Rolls On/Shoe City Open. It was there I begin to see this huge need for adaptive sports programs. I was still new to Adaptive sports at the time so, I did a lot of volunteer work with Midwest Adaptive Sports. Teaching people how to ski and snowboard. I am currently on the Board of Directors for MAS and since they are more focused on the winter sports programs I felt the need to start a Spring/Summer/Fall group.
JS: In what different ways are you getting the word out there about ASK?
MH: Mainly word of mouth at the moment. We have been traveling a lot helping and supporting other organizations with like minded goals and missions. The more awareness that we provide the general public, the better our programs can be. However you have to be careful. Looking at it from a business stand point, you can’t over saturated the market. You have to have a strong core or foundation to build upon.
JS: What is your vision with ASK, where would you like to see it in 5 years?
MH: My vision for ASK is to provide our community with a solid adaptive sports program. To build long lasting memories with our participants. To make sure that the community provides the same support with these athletes, as they would your conventional sports. There is so many possibilities for anyone, and I mean anyone to reach for the stars and achieve anything they desire. However someone has to know what they want and need and that is where we come in.
I would like to see us become a hub. And by that I mean we are centrally located. It makes it easier for families to travel to us for the support and training their prospective athlete needs. It also makes it just as easy for us to travel to them. It’s all about support and showing them that they matter to us. So to go national and hopefully have training center for adaptive athletes.
JS: Are there any limits to join?
MH: There absolutely is no limit to be a part of ASK. There are many "specialized groups" which are very needed in some cases, however we want to provide everyone the social interaction with no exclusion. We invite everyone. Whether you have a disability or not. That way we are breaking down the walls of segregation. It helps build confidence. If you are exposed to things like different disabilities, then it’s no longer weird. When people don’t see you any differently, you feel like you are a part of something bigger. We are not our disability. We are everyday people.
JS: How can outside people get involved in ASK?
MH: Get a hold of us. We have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Website. Come out and volunteer. Interact with the participants. There is nothing greater or more fulfilling than seeing someone who has been told they cant, realize they can and will. Best feeling ever.
JS: How can people donate to ASK, what are your major needs for the program?
MH: People can donate directly if they want. We havea donation page through Rockethub. However if they need the Tax deduction they need to donate through our Umbrella Sponsor Midwest Adaptive Sports. We are currently waiting on our 501c3 approval from the IRS. Funding is our current need. We have been working overtime and taking extra jobs to fund ASK. Since we travel a lot we could also use gift or gas cards. Anything to help us get to our next destination.
JS: Are there any negative people with what you're trying to do, if so what do you do to overcome the "nay sayers"?
MH: There are always negative people in anything you are doing. The biggest challenge is staying focused on what we are doing. There are other people doing it their way and we will continue to do it our way. We are not a large organization, However we are a core group based in Kansas City with supporters and coaches across the US, that are passionate about making the future a better place for everyone. We will not let anyone stop us or lose sight of why we are doing this.
JS: Last but not least, if you could pick one song to describe your life what would it be and why?
MH: Wow, that’s a hard one. I think I would have to pick MGK-Chasing Pavements. It kind of talks about the struggles of growing up, not knowing your place and everyone wanting you to be something that you’re not. Everyone has this false sense of what success is an how to get there. I seriously believe that we can accomplish anything. It only takes you dreaming it and working hard for it. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
Donation page- http://www.rockethub.com/42662