This year’s 2023 Youth Changemaker Awards presentation was even more special as Lucy Harris, an ODS Player, became the first player to win the award. Additionally, ODS Peer Buddy and Assistant Coach BC Winik was also awarded the prize.The Award is given to recognize efforts to create a more inclusive, supportive and friendly community for all people and to those expanding the definition of what is possible for children with disabilities.
Lucy Harris is impressive. She is currently a Senior at The Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington and has taken full advantage of her time at the school. Lucy is a member of the National Honor Society, International Thespian Honor Society and Principal’s List for high academic achievement. She’s the captain of the Unified Bocce Team, an actor in the school’s many theatre performances, a SuperNova cheerleader, as well as a member of the Best Buddies Club, serving as the President for the past two years. Lucy has participated in ODS programs, including the more competitive Game Day League, since she was in 6th grade. Lucy is forging a path and modifying the landscape for her friends and others in her community by attending The College of New Jersey in the fall. She may have been born with a disability that has made things a bit harder through her life, but she has worked hard, overcome many challenges and is definitely ready for this next step. She is a beautiful inspiration to others who may not have known attending college was an option.
BC is an amazing young man…a unique combination of smart, talented, compassionate and thoughtful. He steps up when asked, eager to work with any of our players who are having a hard time or may be nervous about this new experience. He puts his whole heart into the work and you can see it in the smile on his face when he arrives at the field and the kids run up to welcome him with a hug and a high five. BC took his love of ODS even further when he joined B-CC’s Special Olympics Club early in high school and was voted President in the fall of 2020. In 2022, he was awarded a Lazarus Leaders Fellowship to design a project that provided a social skills class for ODS players before our summer programs. He recruited peer buddies to come early and engage with our players to practice appropriate social interactions, including eye contact, appropriate physical spacing and verbal interactions. For many of our players, these skills don’t come naturally and this training, especially from peers, can be a great help. In the fall, BC will be attending the University of Chicago to study Physics and Philosophy.