Diamond Dreams: Helping children with special needs

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK)- Michele Maxey spends her work days helping improve the lives of others through rehab. But it was that love for her job, and her son, that inspired her to find a way to help others in need.

"I actually have a 14-year-old with special needs," she says. "As a therapist, I saw several of the children, when they were little, got to see them start walking and that kind of thing. They just have my heart. A couple parents asked me to if I could get that started with baseball, and kinda went from there."

That's how Diamond Dreams was born. It's a way for kids with special needs to experience what it's like to be on a real baseball league.

"We actually have even gotten invited a couple of times to play at Noxapater, so they got to play on a big field, a real field, so they think that's pretty cool," Maxey says.

They started with only 18 children. Now in its sixth year, the program provides a fun outlet for 62 special needs kids in the area - something Maxey says she never imagined.

"I didn't know how it would go," she says. "We started out with just Neshoba children and then we've kind of branched out into a few of the different counties. Winston and Kemper, I think we have some kids from there."

Maxey dedicates about 8 hours every week to helping organize the program and making sure everything runs smoothly. She says it's all worth it to watch the kids out on the diamond.

"When you see, especially the new ones, when you see them come home and they're just giddy over getting to play, that's cool stuff," she says.

As for the future, she says she hopes the kids will one day have their own field. And she's just ready to see how big it can go.

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