Rio Rancho’s high school teams may be rivals on the diamond, but they’re one in sharing the game with people of all abilities.
At the Friday, April 14 Rio Rancho High/Cleveland High varsity baseball game, students from both schools’ Best Buddies programs took the field to celebrate America’s traditional pastime and recognize the programs at both schools. Best Buddies students were invited on the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitches. Players, students and faculty sold commemorative t-shirts and raised $3,600, with all profits going directly to the Best Buddies program.
The Best Buddies program’s purpose is to bridge the gaps among students by minimizing differences and including individuals with disabilities in classes and activities. The program aims to create a culture that accepts everyone for who they are and provides opportunities for one-on-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership. The goal is to end the separation between individuals who have disabilities and those who do not.
Just for the record, the game was a thriller, as Rams/Storm games almost always are, and the Rams won 5-4 on their home field. But the real winners were the students of all abilities and their families who had such a great time at the game.