Simi Valley LittleLeague wasoriginated in1972, with theChallengerDivision startingin the late 1990’s.
Bonnie Schaefer’sidea was to create alittle league forchildren withdisabilities who couldnot playcompetitively inschool sportsprograms, or otherprivate leagues.
The ChallengerDivision wasborn, with playersranging from ages4 through 20. Theycome from all partsof Simi Valley, withvarying school andhome life settings.
“I have twin boys aged20 who love sports”,says Lenore, a parent inthe Challenger Division.“Although they helpout on the high schoolteam, here they canreally play, and findtheir element.”
“I’ve coached for 9 yearsin this division,” saysCoach Kevin. “We focuson individual growth.Fundamentals aretaught based on abilitylevel. In some cases welook for improvementsover a wholeseason, not just game bygame.”
In contrast to othersports leagues, theatmosphere here isvery relaxed andcollaborative. Bothfor the players andthe parents.
The ChallengerDivision may nothave beenrealized withoutsupport from theAmandaMcPhersonFoundation.
“Amanda was thestrongest, toughest, sweetest, most specialperson we knew,”remarks her mom anddad. “She battled herentire life against abirth disorder calledVelo-Cardio-FacialSyndrome whichincluded a heartcondition. “
Her foundationincludes theAmanda’s Cornerinitiative which isdedicated toimproving the lives ofall children withdisabilities whoattend public schoolsin Ventura County.
As of January 2007, the foundation has started Amanda’s Cornersin nearly every school in the Simi Valley Unified School District andseveral in other districts. Please visit the foundation website torequest a proposal form. •Amandamcphersonfoundation.org