I volunteered with the WingMan Program for the first time at the Fiesta 5K last weekend and I was welcomed by the friendly, passionate team who were so excited to have me join them for the run. The experience of meeting these athletes and seeing the joy that a finish can bring to them was an invaluable experience for me and I look forward to joining them for future runs. I would highly recommend getting involved with this great organization and team.
My first experience with the ASA Wingman program was last Sunday at the Red Shoe Shuffle 5k. I was profoundly touched not only by Dave and the volunteers but the amazing spirit of the children and their families. After observing the smiles on the children's faces and the heartfelt dedication of the volunteers it became very clear to me that this was truly a win win situation for all. I feel very proud to be a part of this amazing organization and sooo looking forward to the next event!
Review from Guidestar
I started volunteering with ASA about a year ago and now serve as a Training Captain for Team ASA. It has been my pleasure to help organize, train, and race with athletes who are racing and fundraising so that ASA can continue to serve young athletes living with disabilities. I have since become a member of the board and love every minute that I spend focused on ASA. I am often overwhelmed by the passion and enthusiasm of everyone associated with ASA. I can't wait to see what comes next for ASA and I'm thrilled to be a part of such an extraordinary organization.
When signing on to the ASA Wingman program as a “newbie” runner, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I had the patience, experience and/or ability to work with disabled youth in an endurance event. I can tell you now, having completed my first race with my very special athlete, that the undertaking was not only one from which I will benefit for a lifetime, but I can’t wait to do it again. The sense of pride and achievement, shared both by our Wingman team and our athlete, is difficult to put into words. I knew that the mission of Athletes Serving Athletes was to enrich lives, but only now appreciate that one of the lives being enriched was my own. Thanks, ASA, for everything you do!
Review from Guidestar
Our Wingman Team completed our first two "finishes" last Sunday at the Red Shoe Shufflle 5K. We were honored to race with two wonderful young ladies who got to get out of their Ronald McDonald House rooms for a thrilling run around Camden Yards. They both smiled the whole race and were cheered as true champions when they crossed the finish line. My only hope is that they had half as much fun as I did. I can't wait for Hope's Heroes 5 K in June so that we can do it again.
The power of this non-profit organization lies in what it provides: a competitive experience for physically challenged young people who have never had a competitive experience before. All you have to do is look into the face of one of these challenged athletes during a race and you can see the transformational power of the experience. Looking into the faces of the volunteers who push the chairs gives you an indication of what a decision to give of your time can do to provide you with peace and satisfaction. You have to come see this in person to believe! A warning though: if you do, you will get hooked!!!
My son, Kevin's, dream came true when he was able to compete in the Harrisburg marathon last November. Dave and all the volunteers who helped that day were just terrific. Kevin has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, but that was no problem for Athletes Serving Athletes. The smile that was on Kevin's face when he crossed the finish line said it all!! Recently, Kevin was involved in a little accident while he was being transported by his day program. His wheelchair actually rolled off the lift and he went head forward onto the parking lot. His forehead and wrist had severe abrasions, but luckily no broken bones. After returning from the ER he told his Dad "don't worry it will be all healed before the marathon." Kevin has every intention of completing the Harrisburg marathon again in a couple of weeks with the help of Dave and all the dedicated volunteers. We can't thank them enough.
I had the opportunity to Volunteer at a 5K race. I was amazed at the dedication and determination of the athletes while participating in the event. I've met Dave both during events and outside of events and his passion for these kids and this organization is very evident. I've cried many tears of job and happiness watching these kids smile as they cross the finish line. And the excitement and energy at every event that this wonderful organization participates in is amazing. I feel very blessed to have met Dave and had the opportunity to volunteer as well.
I became aware of ASA through my wife, who is a volunteer and board member. When I first heard that ASA provides opportunities for both physically and socioeconomically disabled athletes to cross a finish line I thought it was a nice idea. It was not until I witnessed the impact that the opportunities that ASA provides for these athletes truly has on their lives. ASA is about the 12 year-old girl who is in her 7th foster care placement that just finished her first 5K and is now starting to believe that the strength to reach her goals actually lives inside her. It is about the young man that can't walk that just completed a triathlon and experienced the thrill of a crowd cheering him on and the exhilaration of finishing a race. ASA also sends a message to all of us that we can all be champions.
I had the opportunity to Volunteer at a 5K race. What a great experience, these people are so dedicated to making sure everyone feels special and has a chance to participate. It is amazing to see the lenghts Dave will go to for his athletes. It is a wonderful organization and I hope more people learn about their great work and help out with donations so more disabled athletes have a chance to compete.
I had the opportunity to fund-raise for ASA as I prepared for the Celebration Triathlon. It is humbling to see how much ASA can do with modest donations- providing challenged athletes an avenue to experience the thrill of competition! From severely physically challenged kids to children in foster care, ASA treats children and their caretakers with respect, compassion and encourages them to make the most of their lives.
ASA does their thing diligently, faithfully, and generously. They are diligent in the scope of what they do. There is a work ethic and sacrifice that they make look easy - even though it's not. They are faithful to their athletes, their supporters, and other organizations. Everyone is a friend. And ASA always shows up and performs with excellence over and over again. They are generous. See above. They do nothing but give and give and give.
ASA is an amazing organization that helps athletes with disabilities achieve their goals of participating in various competitions. They don't stop at just pairing athletes for a single race, they have a mentoring program that builds relationships between the ASA volunteers and the athletes they serve. As an occupational therapy student, it is great to have an organization that enables young adults with disabilities to meet their full potential and participate in meaningful ways! They also use state of the art equipment for their all their atheletes.
My family has had the opportunity to participate in several ASA events and they have all been inspirational and done with great excellence and care. the love and honor shown to people with physical challenges is extraordinary. We also have a dear friend and his family who have been blessed beyond words by this organization. This young man, 18 and in a wheel chair, has had his life forever changed by the efforts of this remarkable organization. Kit Elmer
I have had the fortune to be part of quite a few of ASA's events. ASA brings joy, passion, and strength to those so often left behind. This organization does things with excellence, professionalism, and grace. This is a non-profit that gets it right. The faces of challenged athletes as they cross the finish lines will give you the chills. Being at these races gives life to everyone there. I truly think this is not just a way the challenged athletes are served, it is a way they serve the rest of us!
Athletes Serving Athletes made it possible for my twin brother and I to finish our first fun run, a half marathon. They loaned us a chair to make Patrick and I dream come true! If it wasn't for ASA, I would still be in in my planning phase on how am I going to raise enough money to buy a chair. ASA is a great organization and I plan to run many races with them in the future years! I am so glad they have started this in the Baltimore/DC area. Thank you David and everyone else who has made ASA dream come true. Benjamin Green
I have the privilege of working with the foster kids who are supported by ASA. To be able to provide these kids with a weekly exercise program so that they can race and experience what it feels like to cross a finish line, is incredible. For the first time in some of theses kids' lives, they feel really proud of something they've worked hard for. These experiences are very powerful. I see these kids beginning to make better choices for their bodies, in school, and with their interactions with their peers. ASA has a significant impact on these kids' lives.
I have had an opportunity to see ASA's work first-hand as a volunteer. Last Saturday at 5am, I was in the car as we picked up James Banks for his 3rd Baltimore Marathon. His smile can warm anyone's heart and his face lit up when he saw the new "red rocket" chair that ASA was able to receive through a grant. James was tired with his eyes glazed over at the end of the 4-hour marathon, but he hasn't stopped talking about the race and he has a trophy case at home where he is proud of each and every medal. This season we had 38 athletes compete in triathlons and raise money for ASA. It was so easy for them to raise because of the tangible impact ASA has on athletes like James. These Team ASA members enabled 50+ other challenged athletes cross the finish line.