BDD Students, All-Stars provide care packages for Bethany baseball team

Members of the Bethany Bison baseball team pose with an autographed photo of the Jefferson County All-Stars basketball team that was included in a care package sent from the School of Bright Promise. The school provided six boxes full of goodies and other gifts as the college team was bound for spring training in Florida.

As members of the Bethany Bison baseball team headed off to the Sunshine State for spring training, they received a surprise in the form of care packages from special needs students and athletes at the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Faculty and students at the School of Bright Promise and members of the Jefferson County All-Stars basketball team provided six large boxes full of photos, cards, and a wide array of snacks for the college team as members made their annual trek to Florida.

Bethany Baseball coach Rick Carver said he and his players were delighted by the school and basketball players’ gifts and even captured the moment on video they posted to YouTube.

Rachel Bodo, principal at the School of Bright Promise, said the idea came about from one of the school’s teachers.

“She filled a box for the players,” she said. “They were going to Florida, and we thought it was a great way to give back because they’ve donated cupcakes, cookies, and volunteer hours.”

Items were collected from faculty and students until March 1 and the six boxes contained crackers, sunflower seeds, chips, peanuts, candy, cookies, and cards and more while the all-stars also included an autographed photo as a gift of thanks.

“We are overwhelmed at this gesture,” Carver said.

Players expressed their glee and appreciation throughout the video and planned to stay in touch while they are away. The team was set to depart for Florida on Thursday, where they are destined for Port St. Lucie to undergo spring training.

The coach added that there were plans to have an athlete provide daily Facebook updates to the school which will be forwarded to the classrooms. The players also intend to correspond with postcards at that time.

The baseball team and students have formed a strong friendship since the athletes began visiting over the past few years, with the players even keeping the students’ cards and notes as good luck charms. The players have also volunteered their time to assist at all-stars games this past season and bonded with them, as well. Additionally, the students have been invited as guests of honor to Bison baseball games and for some pre-game interaction in a nearby park. Another trip was being planned next month to catch a ballgame.

“Plans are to have Bright Promise Day at Bethany Park on Monday, April 24 when we play Muskingum in a JV game at 2 p.m.,” Carver said. “Since it’s a JV game, we can have more involvement with the kids. Given the latest gifts, I’m sure we are going to double down on the efforts for the kids. I told Rachel that we will announce each teacher prior to the start of the game as there is never enough credit for them, and we are working on more plans.”

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