I kid around a lot with folks about my abysmal memory skills. I tell folks that I have CRS — Can't Remember Stuff. The problem always seems to crop up between the time an idea for a story comes along and I have enough information to put together something coherent.
The following article, about a special education teacher at Cedar Lane School, is a case in point. In case you don't know about the school, the school system's special education page has this to say about CLS: "The Cedar Lane School, on the Fulton Campus, provides a structured learning environment for students age 3 through 21, whose needs are so complex that they require a specialized, comprehensive program in a special school setting."
So, somehow I started an email thread with special education teacher Christine Brewer. She is involved with an organization called Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA), a "nonprofit organization that brings people together to experience the joy, excitement, and thrill of competition."
Christine is a runner and has been competing in races over the course of the past 8 or 9 years. The first time she saw ASA teams was at the Survivor Harbor 7 race in Baltimore in 2010 or 2011.Over the course of the next several races, she kept running into them (no pun intended) at, for example, the Baltimore Marathon and the Baltimore 10-miler.
"Every time I saw the teams out on the course, I kept telling myself, 'I should do that.' " She finally signed up last June and started racing with them in October.
Christine has been a special educator in HCPSS for the last nine years. Her work with special needs students generally involves those with significant needs.
In her email she wrote, "One thing that is lacking for our students at Cedar Lane is opportunities for interactions with peers without disabilities and community involvement. We don't have after-school clubs and activities here like other schools. ASA gives the students involved a chance to connect with people in their community, interact, have fun, and participate in local races. A parent of an athlete here told me that this was the first time her son has ever had an after school activity. That really hit home for me."
She continued, "I think it also means a lot to the student athletes to have an activity that is truly theirs. Many of them have siblings without disabilities who participate in multiple sports and hobbies. ASA gives our students an opportunity to have a sport that is theirs, something to be proud of."
Christine is passionate about working to expand opportunities for people with disabilities and to promote more community involvement. Being involved with ASA is a perfect fit for Christine as it combines her love of running with supporting people with disabilities.