What is a Beautiful Life?

If you follow us on any form of social media, you’ve most likely seen our hashtags #beautifullivesproject and/or #nolimitstoabeautifullife.

And if you haven’t seen them, you’re at least aware of our name, the Beautiful Lives Project.

But what do these hashtags and the name of our nonprofit actually mean?

To someone who finds us randomly on social media, they might think we are talking about outer beauty.

Let’s face it (pun intended), social media revolves highly around physical appearance. Before posting any photo or video, we have filters at our fingertips to enhance them. We can easily control the brightness/contrast/saturation/etc. of anything we upload, making the content appealing to our followers. Because of these tools, we can take something that was once plain or unattractive and turn it into a masterpiece.

However, outer beauty is not the theme of the Beautiful Lives Project.

In fact, #nolimitstoabeautifullife is nowhere near related to physical appearance.

So, what is our message?

What we want and hope to encourage with our programs is to live out a beautiful life. To live a life full of equal, inclusive opportunities- no matter a person’s level of abilities. To exude confidence and bravery in every step of one’s journey. Although we may look, think, or act differently from each other, it doesn’t mean we aren’t loved and valued.

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Participant from Journey Found CT.

In my search for what it means to live out a beautiful life, I reached out to my fellow co-workers for their opinions. I thought it would be interesting to get their take on this topic, and I was especially curious to hear Bryce’s thoughts. Remember, Bryce was born blind and has never seen what some would label as “beautiful.”

“I think helping people overcome obstacles in life is an example of living a beautiful life.” -Bryce Weiler, Co-Founder

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Co-Founder Bryce and Executive Director Charlie with staff from the Arc of Southington.

I couldn’t agree more with his statement.

Ever since I have known Bryce, (about 8 years now) he has always tried to help anyone in need. Fast forward to today and he continues to do the same. A large part of his work with the Beautiful Lives Project is helping people have better experiences in sports and other specialized activities. He actively seeks out opportunities for people with disabilities to learn, grow, and have fun. Through this organization, he has helped change hundreds of lives, and I know this is only the beginning of his impact.

“A beautiful life is one in which we see each other as human without any lens to focus on things such as appearance, wealth or disabilities.” -Anthony Iacovone, Co-Founder

This quote by our Co-Founder Anthony is so important and accurately touches on what we strive for in the Beautiful Lives Project. To put it simply, people with disabilities are people. They are just as human as those without disabilities. They have thoughts, goals, interests and opinions, just like everyone else around them. When we intentionally look past the stigmas and get to know a person, we often find out we are more alike than we realized.

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Co-Founders Anthony and Bryce with friends.

“To live a beautiful life is to take what we have been blessed with in our own lives, whether it be material, physical or spiritual, and share it with others so that their lives can also be blessed.” -Charlie Brignac, Executive Director

Charlie brings up a great point with his statement. Whether we believe it or not, we all have something of value to offer this world. If you have ever gone to one of our events, you will see first hand how each person adds to the positive experience. People are actively helping each other, laughing, smiling, learning new skills, and making friends. It doesn’t matter if someone is teaching a person how to catch a ball or simply putting a smile on their face, the contributions are equally as important and impactful.

To me, living a beautiful life means to live freely, yet intentionally.

It is very easy for us to get caught up in what is ‘life’ today. We are BUSY people. I often look at the mountain of things I need to accomplish and feel the stress rise inside me. I’m so focused on what’s ahead of me, that I sometimes forget to appreciate what’s in front of me. So, for me to live a beautiful life, I intentionally pay attention to the here and now. I take each day at a time and do my best to be of help and support to those around me.

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Co-Founder Diane with participant from the Highland Challenger League.

After receiving quotes from my co-workers, I quickly realized that we all have different opinions of what it means to live a beautiful life. None of our personal definitions are better or worse than another’s. They show a glimpse of how we live our lives and what motivates us to share that message with others. I personally think that’s the most beautiful part of all.

Asking for help when you need it and helping others when possible is living a beautiful life. Looking past someone’s surface and choosing to see what’s on the inside is living a beautiful life. Recognizing your skills, talents, dreams, goals, strengths and even weaknesses is living a beautiful life. Taking each day one step at a time is living a beautiful life. Giving back to your community is living a beautiful life.

What would your definition be?

May we continue to view others not through a lens of judgment and filters, but through a lens full of acceptance, inclusion, and equality.

#beautifullivesproject #nolimitstoabeautifullife

-Diane McFeaters, Co-Founder

diane@beautifullives.org

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‘There’s No Excluding in Baseball’

Have you ever had to take a step back to really, truly take in a moment? A moment that seems almost too good to be true?

I have.

In fact, this sort of indescribable thing happened to me on Monday with the Evansville Otters during our doubleheader Field of Dreams event.

Bryce and I arrived at Bosse Field at exactly 5:15 PM. We were excited to meet the participants and players that we’d anxiously awaited all summer long. I paced in front of the stadium making sure our waivers and name tags were in order, the restrooms were unlocked, and the front office staff was ready to go. Just as I got everything in place, a group of adults in bright orange colored ‘Otters’ shirts walked past the gate. Our first participants from Jacob’s Village had arrived. Their eyes were wide, as well as their smiles. I could tell this group was ready to have some fun.IMG_20180813_180146
I passed out everyone’s name tags and directed them to the stands inside the stadium. Another assembly of adults from the same group quickly followed behind them. Right as I signed in the last person, it was 6 o’clock and time for the event to start. The Otters manager Andy McCauley called for attention and instructed the group to walk down to the field. A sea of orange shirts wandered down to the grass outside the third baseline. McCauley, along with the players, lead some stretches and explained how the event would run. Players then paired up with each adult and took to their spots on the field. It didn’t take long for everyone to get comfortable.

Hit after hit. Run after run. This group was on fire.

Anyone outside the stadium would have been able to hear all the excitement on the field. You’d think the Otters were playing a regular season game that day. Inside, you could see all the excitement. A front office staff member stood near home plate and commented each play. Families and friends roared in the stands as their loved ones hit and ran the bases. The staff from Jacob’s Village clapped and cheered as each person crossed home plate. The energy was high and incredibly contagious.39227178_972193139626774_1489397514682499072_o

Walking around, you could hear the participants and the players conversing with each other. They talked about how much they loved the event, what they did earlier that day, the pets they had at home, etc. One participant, Jennifer, talked about her recent knee surgery. “I’m doing my best,” she said with a smile. Looking around the crowd, not a single person wasn’t smiling or laughing. People were high-fiving and encouraging each other. It was during this time that everything seemed perfectly inclusive.

The hour flew by and before I knew it, it was time to wrap up the first event. McCauley instructed everyone to gather for a final group picture. The players, participants, and volunteers stood huddled together on the pitcher’s mound smiling from ear to ear. It was almost as though they were celebrities on the red carpet with the number of people taking pictures. After everyone captured their best photos, we said our good byes and see ya later’s. It was time to regroup for round two.

I looked over towards left field and saw a swarm of kids in matching uniforms run out from the stands. Some were in wheelchairs and some carried crutches. They ranged from elementary-aged all the way to high school. Some even had buddies around their age assisting them on the field. You could easily spot the colorful bats and gloves they were armed with as they ran towards the pitcher’s mound. There was no doubt about who had just arrived to play. The Highland Challenger League was here and ready for some action.

The Highland coach Matt Pokorney introduced his team to the Otters and explained the event. He then had Bryce speak about the work he does with the Beautiful Lives programs. Once everyone was acquainted with each other, Pokorney split his team into three large groups. Kids took their places at bat, right field, and left field. They used their own equipment and quickly began to play. The kids in the outfield each paired with an Otters player to catch, throw, and field ground balls. Let me tell you, these kids have some impressive baseball skills. It’s no wonder they are qualified for the Little League World Series!IMG_20180813_190719

By this time, multiple news stations had shown up at Bosse Field to catch the excitement. The kids were eager to be interviewed to share about their experience that night. One of the participants, Owen, volunteered to be interviewed by one of the stations near home plate. He talked about how much it meant to him to be playing with the Otters that night. He also mentioned how his team would be traveling to Williamsport, PA later this month for the Little League World Series. You could see the confidence radiating not only from Owen, but from every teammate.

I had the chance to speak with some of the parents, and you could just tell how proud they were of their children. One dad talked about his love for the Challenger program and how it had opened many doors for his daughter, including the Beautiful Lives event. He also mentioned his excitement to watch her play at the Little League World Series in a couple weeks.  While talking, we watched his daughter run with her crutches around the bases. She had a friend running with her and encouraging her to keep going. Everyone cheered loudly as she crossed home plate. It was a humbling experience.

Just as quickly as the first event went by, so did the second one.

The sun had set, and the lights kicked on. It was time to wrap up round two. We took multiple group pictures on the pitcher’s mound, yelling “Otters!” with every camera flash. While I began to pack up my things, I could hear the kids and players laughing with each other. They were singing into the microphone and taking silly pictures. The kids posed with the Otters behind them, looking like an album cover. It was heartwarming to watch them interact with each other like they had been friends for years. I loved watching the kids just go for it on and off the field.IMG_20180813_201125.jpg

Before leaving, Bryce and I thanked everyone for coming out and supporting the Beautiful Lives Project. As I walked out of the stadium with my mom, I couldn’t help but replay the entire night in my head. We talked about how amazing it was to see so many people’s dreams come true on the field. I asked my mom how she thought the event went and she said, “It’s one of those nights when you smile from the very beginning until long after you’ve left.” I know we’ll never forget that night, and I’m sure neither will the participants and players.

Hosting a doubleheader event was a special experience, to say the least. Many lives were changed in those two short hours, and it was an honor to be a part of that.

A lot of great things came out of this 103-year-old baseball field, including one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own. But if I had to take a step back again to really, truly take in a moment there, it would be during Monday night’s event.

 

-Diane McFeaters, Co-Founder

diane@beautifullives.org

 

 

A Vision for All

During my senior year of college I got a small glimpse of what it is like to be disabled in the public eye.

It was Homecoming weekend at the University of Evansville and the Aces Men’s basketball team had just won their game. My mom and I invited Bryce to go out to dinner with us and celebrate the Aces victory. We arrived at the local Red Robin restaurant and the hostess greeted us at the door. She led us to a booth and we got situated while the server walked up to our table. I sat on the outside of the booth and quickly grabbed the menus. We were hungry after a whole day of Homecoming festivities. Our server arrived and quietly asked me, “Does he want a Braille menu?” as she motioned towards Bryce. Before I could even answer her question, Bryce leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “I’m blind, not deaf.”

For the record, Bryce said this in a joking manner and had no hard feelings towards our server. In fact, we still joke about “that one time we ate at Red Robin” almost five years later. Bryce was appreciative of the restaurant for having menus available in Braille. Unfortunately, not every restaurant offers this accommodation to blind and/or visually impaired customers, so we were all happy Red Robin worked out in his favor.

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Bryce and I at Red Robin

Bryce did end up requesting a Braille menu and he found exactly what he wanted to order in less than a minute. It was amazing to watch him glide his fingers through the pages lightning fast. I remember sitting there watching him and thinking, “How on Earth does he do that?!” I don’t think sighted people can even read that quickly, let alone comprehend the material! We later received our delicious food and enjoyed the remainder of our time chatting at the restaurant.

This experience helped me realize just how easy we, people without disabilities, have it. We take the simplest things for granted daily and don’t even realize it. I never have to worry about how I am going to order my food at a restaurant or if I’ll be able to find someone to help me navigate to a booth. Yet there are numerous individuals who do have to worry about these things every time they go out. Had Bryce been blind and deaf, there might have been more of an issue with ordering his food.

Did you know this week (June 24-June 30) is National Deaf-Blind Awareness Week? I had no idea!

This struck my curiosity. How many people are deaf-blind in the world?

Well, it is difficult to estimate the deaf-blind population due to the various “definitions” of deafness and blindness. However, a national study commissioned by the Department of Education estimated between 42,000-700,000 people are deaf-blind. This is an astonishing high number to me! I have never met nor interacted with a person who is deaf-blind. The one person who does come to my mind, though, is Helen Keller. She was born 138 years ago yesterday (June 27, 1880).

Helen accomplished so much in her 88 years of life, and her impact is still felt all over the world today. It is truly incredible to read through her biography and learn about her achievements. She was the first deaf-blind person to graduate college, and she went on to work for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) for 40 years. She was sent to Japan in 1948 as America’s first Goodwill Ambassador and had a crowd of two million Japanese citizens come see her.  More importantly though, Helen committed her life to creating opportunities for the disabled community and focused on education for the blind.

I recently read an article about a deaf-blind gentleman who needed help communicating on his flight to Portland. The flight attendant asked if anyone on the flight knew sign language and could help him (deaf-blind communicate by signing into hands). A teenage girl who had studied sign language for about a year volunteered to assist this gentleman. He signed into her hand and she quickly interpreted his requests to the flight attendant. This simple task of kindness helped ease the passenger’s stress of communicating, while also leaving a positive impact on the young girl and her family.

I wonder how many other people have done the same thing to help deaf-blind individuals they come across in public?

This week we remember those who committed their entire career to bettering the lives of the deaf-blind. We celebrate how far this community has come and all their accomplishments they have achieved over the years. We continue to strive for equal opportunities not only for the deaf-blind, but the overall disabled population. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by motivational speaker Adeola Fayehun, “Sight is perception of your present, vision is faith in your future.”

Just think how much more advanced everything will be 138 years from now. Maybe the next Helen Keller is among us, ready to push the envelope that much further.

 

 

 

 

 

References

Harrington, T. Rutherford, J. (2017). American deaf-blind population. Retrieved from

Gallaudet University Library website:

              http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/c.php?g=773916&p=5553028

Helen Keller Biography. Retrieved from http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/helen-

keller/biography-and-chronology/biography/1235#education

O’Kane, Caitlin. (2018, June 24). Teen’s random act of kindness for blind and deaf man on

airplane goes viral.  CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/teens-

random-act-of-kindness-for-blind-and-deaf-man-on-airplane-goes-viral/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Should Ask for Help

I recently listened to a moving TED Talk by Michele L. Sullivan titled, “Asking for Help is a Strength, Not a Weakness.” In her speech, Michele touches on the fact that we can never truly walk in someone else’s shoes. And although we might be able to see some physical challenges, there are far more that we cannot see. She encourages her audience to reach out to others and be a part of their support systems. She ends her speech by crediting all of the people who have helped her achieve success and that we, as each other’s support system, have the power to change society. 

Wow. Talk about an inspiring message!

Michele’s TED Talk brought to my attention the importance of not only helping others, but also helping ourselves. I think so often we focus more on what we can do for everyone else and less on what people can do for us. I’m not trying to say that we should solely rely on someone else to do our work, but think about how much could be achieved when we work together. When was the last time you asked for help? Was it recently? Can you remember? Looking back on my experiences, I know I could not have achieved any sort of success or opportunity without asking people to help me. To be honest, all of us could probably use some sort of help every single day. So why do we neglect to ask for help when we need it? Are we afraid to look weak or vulnerable?  

We are taught early on by our parents, teachers, government leaders, and so on about the importance of helping and putting others’ needs before our own. There is nothing wrong with living life this way, and there are countless benefits to lending a helping hand. However, there are numerous advantages to asking for help as well. As Michele stated, when we ask for help, we show a sign of strength. We recognize our resources and utilize those to help us reach our dreams, goals, needs, etc. We can accomplish so much more when we reach out and allow people to assist us.

So, what are the benefits of asking for help?

Not surprising, they are quite similar to the benefits of helping others.

When we ask for help, we open the door to meeting new people. You never know what friendship could form from simply asking someone for their help. During Michele’s talk, she mentions the friendships she developed at the airport with the staff who assisted her. Most of the friends that Bryce made during his college career were the people who helped him every semester. Asking a co-worker for help on a project or someone to assist you up the stairs could lead to a friendship that might not have ever formed had we not asked for their help.

Next, we become happier people when we ask for help. How often do you feel stressed and overwhelmed when you are struggling with something? How often does that stress diminish when you receive the help that you need? When we struggle with a task, we begin to lose sight on what we are working on or towards. However, with help, our moods lighten and we develop a sense of relief. We then refocus on the task ahead of us and usually obtain our goal quicker. Likewise, the helper will also become happier for knowing that they helped someone in a time of need.

Lastly, we show our strength when we ask for help.

How does that work? In many ways, actually.

First, we show strength when asking for help by expressing our seriousness in what we are working towards. It shows the helper that we are aware of what we can do on our own and where we could benefit from their help. Secondly, we show our strength by stepping outside our comfort zones. It’s easy to stay inside our box where we feel safe and content, but it can also keep us from moving forward. It might be difficult to make that first move in asking for help, but I promise it is much more difficult to overcome obstacles on our own. Finally, we show our strength in asking for help by simply showing our strength. I love this quote by motivational speaker Les Brown, “Ask for help, not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong.” This. Speaks. Volumes. We are strong human beings, no matter our physical appearances, and we can only get stronger from the help of others.

It’s perfectly fine if you need help finishing a paper for class or finding the restroom in a stadium. It’s okay if you need assistance reading a restaurant menu or crossing the street. It’s acceptable to ask for help to tie your shoes or to reach an item on the top shelf. The task, whether small or large, does not matter. What truly matters is that you don’t give up on yourself and that you allow your support system to help you get to the next step, even if it is exactly that.

 

The Ability Inside Us

This past weekend I went shopping at a local department store. As I wandered through the shoe aisle, I heard a couple conversing behind me.

Man: “Wow, look at those shoes! They are so ugly.”
Woman: “That’s probably why they are on clearance for $4.00…”
Man: “Who would even design something like that?”
Woman: “I don’t know? A blind person?”

The last sentence stopped me in my tracks.

Did she really just say that?
Unfortunately, I had heard her correctly.

A part of me wanted to turn around and question her, but I knew starting a debate in the middle of the shoe aisle wouldn’t be my best move.

Instead, the conversation I had just overheard made me think about the reality of what is disability stigma. According to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, disability stigma is a negative connotation towards an individual because of their disability, which can be construed in multiple ways.

For example, people with disabilities may be avoided or left out during social gatherings (social avoidance), targeted and harmed by others (hate crimes and violence), or presumed to be helpless, uneducated, and incompetent (stereotyping). These, among other categories, are the disability stigmas that we witness (and sometimes do) daily. After reading about these stigmas, I realized I had been at fault for stereotyping my blind friend Bryce. Remember when I thought he needed help finding his food and silverware on his tray?

I think we often do not even realize the stigmas we create towards people with disabilities, or rather, towards people who are different than us. Our first impression of others is usually the physical features that we see. But what if we based our first impressions on the accomplishments of others? Maybe the couple I overheard in the store didn’t realize the stigma they had towards people who are blind.

The couple’s conversation also inspired me to research some of the most influential people with disabilities.

For starters, I cannot write about remarkable individuals without mentioning my good friend Bryce Weiler. As many of you know, Bryce was born blind and is the co-founder of the Beautiful Lives Project. Without him, the nonprofit would not be where it is today. Bryce has worked hard the past few years to bring sports opportunities to people of all disability backgrounds, and I could not be prouder of his dedication.

While researching other notable people, I came across a few individuals who achieved great things regardless of living with polio. Frida Kahlo was diagnosed with polio at six years old and was later severely injured in a bus accident. Despite these obstacles, Frida focused on developing her painting skills. She went on to become a world-famous painter and is most commonly known for her self-portraits.

Former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt developed polio as an adult, but he did not let that hold him back from politics. He worked hard to regain his strength, and he even designed his own wheelchair! Roosevelt was elected and served four consecutive terms as President. He also founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became known as the March of Dimes Foundation in 1938.

Stephen Hawking is most famous for his work as a physicist, professor, and author. He, too, accomplished great things despite being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as a young adult. Hawking discovered that black holes emit radiation, and thus created the Hawking Radiation theory. Hawking also wrote the book, A Brief History of Time, and it remained on the Sunday Times’ bestsellers list for over four years.

There have been so many successful people with disabilities throughout history, and those mentioned above are just a handful. Without these people, we would be missing out on far more than we could imagine. If the conversation I overheard in the department store taught me anything, it is to look past the ‘dis’ and focus on the ‘ability’. Let’s embrace what we have to offer this world, together.

References

Disability Stigma and Your Patients. Retrieved from http://agerrtc.washington.edu/info/factsheets/stigma#what

FDR and Polio. Retrieved from https://fdrlibrary.org/polio

Frida Kahlo Biography. Retrieved from
https://www.biography.com/people/frida-kahlo-935949

Stephen Hawking Biography. Retrieved from
https://www.biography.com/people/stephen-hawking-9331710

Lessons Beyond the Dinner Table

I met Bryce during our freshmen year of college at the University of Evansville. My friend Marian had a class with him, and she offered to help him get his meals throughout the semester. I would often meet them for lunch and dinner in the cafeteria and got to know Bryce through thisIMG_20180508_121923. One evening early in the semester, I offered to help Bryce get his dinner. To be honest, I was nervous and intimidated by this task I had just set up for myself. Prior to meeting Bryce, I had never met or interacted with a blind person, and I wasn’t quite sure how to act around him. I was afraid that I would say the wrong thing, such as “See you later!” or point to something without thinking. But, nevertheless, I had offered to help him and couldn’t back down now.

I led Bryce through the maze of students in the cafeteria, attempting to get his salad, entre, and dessert(s) without bumping into too many people or poles. I thought to myself, “Bryce is completely trusting me to guide him. I’ve got to stay aware of my surroundings for the both of us.” Thankfully, the students were also aware of us and we made it through with only a few bumps. I led him past the checkout line and to an empty table. I set down his tray and placed his silverware to the side. I pulled out his chair and described where I placed his food before going back to get mine. Bryce stood there, putting away his cane and began laughing hysterically. Did I do something funny? I was confused, and slightly offended, as to why he would be laughing at me after I helped him. Still puzzled, I asked him what was so funny. He told me that I didn’t need to pull his chair out or describe where I placed his dinner and utensils. He said he could do those things on his own.

I walked back up to get my food and thought over what had just happened. I was SO nervous that I would mess up helping Bryce, that I let myself treat him as though he was incapable of doing even the most minor tasks. I got my dinner and returned to the table to eat with him. We talked and laughed the remainder of the time, and I quickly realized that Bryce wasn’t so different from me (except for his sports knowledge that far exceeds mine). We were both freshmen students, still adjusting to a college schedule. We were studying for exams, making friends, and attending campus events throughout the week. As the years went on, I continued to help Bryce with his meals and we grew to become good friends.

Bryce often speaks to groups about how much I, among many others, helped him throughout college. Yet, I don’t think he quite realizes the impact he leaves on everyone he meets. Throughout the years of knowing Bryce, I have learned that people with disabilities are just…people. Bryce taught me that you don’t have to be nervous or intimidated by someone who is different than you, and that it’s okay to ask questions if you are unsure. He helped me understand that it’s not about what’s holding you back from your dreams, whether it be a physical, mental, or emotional disability, but about the drive and the people who help you overcome those challenges along the way.

-Diane McFeaters

 

I enjoy speaking with groups of people because it gives me an opportunity to share stories about my experiences during my life. It does not matter if I am speaking to a group of athletes or a company, I can find a way to connect with people. I like to talk about how I have overcome obstacles, despite people doubting my ability to work in sports or commentate sports on the radio. Through these speeches, I hope to inspire others that they can overcome any obstacle that is put in their place if they only try. In addition to my motivational speeches, I also enjoy talking about people who have helped me learn more about sports, such as my good friend Coach Brad Stevens, and people who helped me during my time in college. With the assistance of many students at the University of Evansville and Western Illinois, I was able to make it through college. My friends not only helped me in the cafeteria, but also assisted me with other things, such as shooting free throws or driving me somewhere. I am thankful for each person who took the time to help me through my years of schooling. I always tell groups that a person does not have to be famous, or have a famous job title, to make an impact on another person’s life.

At the end of each speech, I talk about how everyone, if not all of the people in the room, are living my dream of being able to see. Each person has something they would like in life, and for me, this is being able to see. I talk about how being blind has changed my life because I do not believe I would have as deep of an appreciation for people if I was born with vision. I know if I am never able to see, that I will still need people to help me in my life, and I am thankful for all of the people who have been willing to help me. Being blind has taught me that there are many things I can do on my own, but there are also things I need help with first, such as learning how to navigate a route around a college campus or how to cross an unfamiliar street. It is nice to know I have people who support me and wish me success in life. I conclude my speeches with telling group members to never take anything in life for granted, because they never know when something in their life could change.

-Bryce Weiler

Inspiring Lives At New Britain Stadium

This week we had two fun Field of Dreams events at New Britain Stadium! On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of playing with the Arc of Southington group again. They enjoyed our first event so much and wanted to come play one more time this season! Along with the Arc of Southington, sponsors from Lennox and Fox61 news reporter Jenna DeAngelis came out as well. The fans had a great time hitting, running the bases, and joking with each other. Sponsors from Lennox even stayed for some batting practice at the end! While playing on the field, Ms. DeAngelis captured our story and vision for the Beautiful Lives Project. She also interviewed co-founder Bryce Weiler and Bees owner Anthony Iacovone. Ms. DeAngelis did a wonderful job explaining to viewers the impact that is left on all those involved in our events. Check out the story here!

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Sponsors from Lennox Industries (pictured left to right) Tony Cava, Michael Regan, Beautiful Lives Project co-founder Bryce Weiler, Daniel Sinel, Craig Mann.
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Bryce Weiler speaking with Bees Manager Stan Cliburn and Fox61 reporter Jenna DeAngelis.

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Group photo at the end of Tuesday’s event!

We had a fun group from MARC Community Resources join us on Thursday! The MARC organization was founded in 1955. It strives to empower people with development and intellectual disabilities by offering a multitude of services, such as employment and day services. To learn more about this organization you can visit here. During Thursday’s event, we met a blind gentleman named Gino. He hit a beep ball while up to bat. A beep ball is used in place of a baseball for those with vision impairments. It is slightly larger than a softball and makes a loud beeping sound. This sound allows people with vision impairments to hear when the ball is coming towards them. How cool is that! The fans enjoyed playing with the Bees players and opposing team Southern Maryland. After the event ended, everyone made their way to the stands for a fun evening watching the Bees play!

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Group photo at the end of Thursday’s event! Thank you again to MARC Community Resources for joining us!

We have two more Field of Dreams events before the season wraps up! They are on Tuesday September 5th and Thursday September 7th from 2:30-3:30 at New Britain Stadium. If you or someone you know would like to join us please email bweiler25@gmail.com for more details. See you in September!