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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

FBC Eufaula encourages mentally handicapped with softball gamecomment (0)

July 26, 2007


Bobby — a sure hitter — liked to slide at every base, wave and bow to the spectators as they chanted his name.

He became a quick crowd favorite the night his team won 14–9 against the youth group of First Baptist Church, Eufaula, in Barbour Baptist Association.

And Josh Gulledge, youth intern at First, Eufaula, said it was more exciting than an Atlanta Braves game.

The recent matchup was meant to encourage Bobby’s team from the nearby Charles Parramore Center (CPC), a dayhabilitation clinic for the adult mentally handicapped. The CPC team frequently plays in tournaments but got together with the youth group for a special game at its request.

“It was very touching that we were thought of in this way,” said Kim Corcoran, who has been CPC director for 19 years. “In all the years I’ve been here this was the first group that was not affiliated with the mentally retarded that has wanted to help us.”

The youth said the game was the highest point of the group’s 10th annual Impact week.

During Impact week, the youth reach out to the community in an effort to make an impact for Jesus Christ.

This year, they did backyard Bible clubs with children at the church’s day camp as well as Hispanics in a local mobile home park. They also held block parties at an apartment complex and played bingo with senior adults at an assisted living home.

In the evenings, they combined with several other local churches for worship.

Chris Wilkinson, youth minister of First, Eufaula, said, “We are trying to teach our kids that there are lots of ways to impact others. We’ve just got to open our eyes.”

For Emily Shoffit, a member of First, Eufaula, the softball game was “the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
Wilkinson agreed.

“We were going to let them win but we looked up and they were beating us anyway — and we were really trying,” he said.

Many of the youth helped in the CPC dugout and handed out water to the players. First, Eufaula, members also helped the CPC players run to the bases.

Youth group member Caroline Espy said it was a fun and loving atmosphere.

“All of my staff were worried if they’d laugh and be stand offish but it was so much the opposite,” Corcoran added.

There was an award ceremony after the game during which the church team gave the CPC team a trophy.

Gulledge said, “You would have thought they’d won the World Series as they held their trophy high in the air.”

Corcoran said many of the adults she works with have been asking about when the next game will be. “It has made a lasting impact on them,” she said.

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