Kinetic Kids is a nonprofit which was originally formed to keep children who needed physical therapy active outside of their actual physical therapy sessions by giving them the opportunity to play sports. Founded in 2001 by Kacey Wernli and Tracey Fontenot, the organization has now grown exponentially. The nonprofit works with children ages 18 months to 18 years who are living with conditions such as cerebral palsy, cancer, spina bifida, and autism among others. Children diagnosed with neurological disorders like these often can’t participate in normal team sports. Kinetic Kids gives them an opportunity to be a part of a team by adapting sports to fit their unique needs.
The organization started with just 10 kids and just one sport- baseball. Now, there are 3,000 kids participating each year in 235 different programs. The programs include wrestling, tennis, wheelchair racing, cheerleading, CrossFit, swimming, and basketball among others.
Besides keeping kids active, this program also benefits children and their families as it builds a community of individuals dealing with similar situations, similar struggles, and similar joys.
Samuel DeRousse’s story
Samuel DeRousse was born with cerebral palsy and for much of his life he was unable to walk. But after a lot of therapy, he learned to move using a walker/crutches. Never did he believe though that he would be playing sports.
But in middle school, Samuel found and joined Kinetic Kids. He participated in many of the programs and found a true passion for wheelchair racing. Now a freshman in college at Texas A&M University, he’s working to create his own varsity-level NCAA adaptive sports program.
Samuel’s father talks about how Kinetic Kids brought him closer to his son as they were able to play sports together and share experiences.
The Kinetic Kids program is continuing to grow each year. The sports are held at the same local facilities where other sports teams practice throughout San Antonio. Each program costs 235 dollars but Kinetic Kids only asks 70 dollars per child. There are also scholarships available for families.
If you’d like to contribute to Kinetic Kids you can donate money or sports equipment. You can also volunteer with the organization. More information on how to get involved can be found on their website.
You can read more about this program and Samuel DeRousse’s story here.