Liberty County D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and A.C.E. League (All Can Experience) teamed up recently on a project that involved Life Skills students creating beautiful pieces of art. The artwork was then sold through a Facebook auction that raised more than $1,800.
The proceeds of the auction were then split among the two organizations and earmarked for future children’s projects.
Every year in May, A.C.E. League gives special-needs children from Liberty County and the surrounding area an opportunity to play in a softball tournament. Ashley Watson, the founder of A.C.E. League started the non-profit so that her youngest daughter would have an opportunity to play softball like her older sister.
Watson’s young daughter was left with some developmental delays after she contracted meningitis that resulted in epilepsy. On her website, www.allcanexperience.org, Watson shared the inspiration for her organization.
“On opening day of my oldest daughter’s softball season, we sat through numerous games and, throughout the day, my youngest would ask, “Momma, when is my game?” It made me so sad that she isn’t able to have the same experience as her sister and peers,” Watson wrote. “So, I created A.C.E. (All Can Experience) Baseball Day At The Park, along with many other friends, teachers, and fellow parents of special-needs children. A day that provides all of the kids in the Life Skills Program in the Liberty and surrounding school districts their very own ‘Opening Day!’”
At this year’s tournament in May, the students were kept busy between softball and baseball games with crafts and other activities. The children – the 400 students representing 10 different school districts and ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade – were asked to add their own touches to seven canvases.
“It was really sweet. I really love how they turned out,” Watson said. “One of the canvases said, ‘Hope,’ another said ‘Joy,’ and another said ‘Love.’ One was handprints, one had butterflies and one was a crazy mess of paint that was actually my favorite.”
The “messy paint” canvas is titled “Beautiful Chaos,” according to Christine Taylor with Liberty County D.A.R.E., who helped organize the art project.
Watson said that participation in A.C.E. League games has encouraged her to add a second annual event called the Diamond Classic.
“We added the tournament so that adults and children could participate, and we are already looking at other plans for the future,” she said.
The Diamond League Classic is set for Sept. 8 at the Liberty Municipal Park. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the open ceremony at 9:15. Games will follow at 10 a.m.
Registration is set for Aug. 1-25 and is limited to the first 250 people who sign up. There is no charge and registration can be completed online. The Grand Slam sponsor is the Houston-based law firm of StrahanCain.
For more information on A.C.E. League, call Ashley Watson at 936-334-5870.
Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com