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Coast Hills

Local duo hits homer for kids with disabilities

by Joshua D. Scroggin
March 07, 2016
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Brayden Groshart and Bryce Hilton pose with batsBryce and Brayden present Jack's Helping Hand with a check for $4,000.Brayden Groshart loves to play baseball.

Not too long ago, he took some time from playing to make a difference in his neighbors’ lives.

Brayden, 14, volunteered with the Nipomo Little League’s Challenger Division, a unique program that gives kids with special needs the chance to learn and play the game just like everyone else.

Brayden was one of the division’s “buddies,” helping guide Challenger players through hitting, running bases and taking the field.

“It’s just a great experience working with them,” said Brayden, an eighth-grader at Old Mission School in San Luis Obispo, “because they don’t get the same opportunities we get to play baseball, football, basketball and other sports.

“It’s just cool to give them the experiences that we get to have and that we take for granted.”

In that same spirit, Brayden teamed with best friend and classmate Bryce Hilton to put on a charity wiffle ball tournament to help fund Jack Ready Imagination Park, the first planned universally accessible park in San Luis Obispo County.

The Imagination Park is helmed by Jack’s Helping Hand, a nonprofit organization that provides support to local families of children with disabilities. Jack’s offers swimming and equestrian therapy, toy deliveries and lending libraries, movement workshops and much more.

Jack’s broke ground on the park’s 33-acre plot in Nipomo in 2014, and progress continues as donations flow in, Co-Founder Paul Ready said.

Bryce and Brayden collected sponsorships, including one from the CoastHills Community Foundation, and sold concessions at their wiffle ball tournament at Nipomo Regional Park on Feb. 28. There they presented Jack’s Helping Hand with a $4,000 check to support Jack Ready Imagination Park.

Considering their initial goal was to raise $3,000, Bryce and Brayden were pumped about the grand total. The enthusiasm they received from community organizations has encouraged them to pledge to make the wiffle ball tournament an annual event.

“It’s cool to see support from the community groups out there like CoastHills,” Bryce said. “They’re not just there for their own profit but for the profit of others, and it’s awesome. It’s been a game-changer for us.

“The first day we went to approach our sponsors, we got six in the first hour-and-a-half. So, we knew at that point, we’re going to beat our goal. It’s great to see us raise that amount of money. Next year, we hope to double that — or triple that in the following years. Our goal is to keep building.”

If you know of a local nonprofit in need of support, check out the CoastHills Community Foundation's Community Action Sponsorships. Each month, our committee awards sponsorships of up to $500 per organization.

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