“Special needs” is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses can be wedged. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound cognitive impairment; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. “Special needs: are commonly defined by what a child can’t do – by milestones unmet, foods banned, activities avoided, experiences denied.

Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball is dedicated to performing charitable work; promoting the health and well being of individuals with special needs; and educating the public to promote a greater understanding on matters concerning disabilities and disabled individuals. Challenger’s purpose is to provide opportunities for children with special needs to play the game of baseball, regardless of their abilities. We cannot change or cure whatever life has dealt our children. What we can do is provide them an opportunity to play.

Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball was formed in 2013 with a couple of children and a few hardworking adults. Challenger Baseball now serves over 40 children in a 10-county area and continues to grow. No family is charged a fee to play Challenger Baseball. Each player receives their own uniform that includes a jersey, pants, socks, and a hat. Challenger offers baseball activities in the spring and fall. This is an outstanding time for kids to enjoy a game that perhaps they felt they could never be a part of. Many of Challenger’s players have watched their brothers and sisters play for years, and now they too have their chance. Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball provides a safe atmosphere where the parents can enjoy watching their child from the stands while their child is helped by a Buddy in the field or at bat.

For more information about Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball, please visit semochallenger.org.