Tri City Adaptive Sports and Activities Program sees success within community

Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 3:51 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - On a normal day Northside Christian Church is a quiet, calm place of worship, but on some Saturdays, you can find a little noise on the church grounds.

It’s the sounds of young people playing that’s part of another type of ministry.

“There’s not a lot of sports programs for children with special needs and disabilities for them to go to,” said Adaptive Sports and Activities Program Founder Beatrice Hiner.

Hiner started the church’s Adaptive Sports and Activities Program or ASAP in August of 2022 giving children and young people with special needs or disabilities an opportunity to learn sports games, but it’s turned into something much more.

“He’s nonverbal and he struggles to express himself. We can tell by Drew’s body language, we can tell by his smile that he’s truly accepted somewhere and he’s comfortable,” said ASAP parent Andrew Hilmes.

ASAP making an impact on Hilmes and his 19-year-old son Drew. It’s also created a resource or safe space for other parents and caregivers.

“There’s other parents and families going through the exact same thing,” said Hilmes.

Volunteers who see the program’s success are also impacted.

“I was just amazed at how volunteers embraced this program,” said ASAP volunteer Susan Harbin. “The kids have been so loving and so receptive of us loving on them, it’s been a beautiful relationship.”

“There are so many participants Drew is one and Josh, they get excited when they know it’s ASAP,” said Hiner. “They know they’re going to see their friends and have something to do.”

Hiner said her vision for the program is bright, but the future is in divine timing.

“We want to potentially help other churches develop a program, maybe in other areas,” said Hiner. “If we have the need, everyone has the need.”

The program has had many participants. A Sunday school program for this group has also been established at the Northside Christian Church.

On Saturday, November 11, ASAP will close out the year with a big celebration with food trucks, an obstacle course and so much more.

It all starts at 10 a.m. at Northside Christian Church in Fortson.

They’re always looking for volunteers.