The Union College Hockey Team hit the rink for a different purpose Friday evening. College students from the Men's and Womens Hockey team treated teens with disabilities to a night of interactive fun.
“My team is always trying to be more involved in the community, it's really important to us,” said Union College student Cheyenne Harris.
“I'm hoping we get a lot of smiles,” said Union College student Anthony Rinaldi.
The prom-like event did that and more. The teens are part of the Stride Adaptive Sports program. Stride Program Director Megan Evans says she worked with the college to create a safe space to celebrate with thier peers.
“I'm sure everyone remembers the feeling of their first dance, wondering who’s going to be there, who’s going to talk to me. All they have to worry about is having fun,” Evans said.
The program director says it is important to have events like these for students to build up their social skills.
“One of the main things, especially in autistic children, is the ability to have appropriate social skills with their peers, and events like these and sports programs are what they need,” Evans said.
Stride Adaptive Sports student, Bridget Hotaling, says being a part of this program is like her home away from home.
"I don't have a big family so this group and team have been my extended family for the last ten years," Hotaling said.
Most of all, the teens see just how great they really are.
"It was exciting to see them and forget, for at least a few hours that I have a disability," Hotaling said.