Canton Challenger Baseball League | Nonprofit spotlight

The Challenger league is a division of Holly Hills Little League that provides organized baseball for special needs children. The Canton Challengers currently have about 170 players on nine teams. The players are both boys and girls and include ages five through high school. Players come from throughout Stark County and beyond.

WHAT IS CANTON CHALLENGER BASEBALL?

The Challenger league is a division of Holly Hills Little League that provides organized baseball for special needs children. The Canton Challengers currently have about 170 players on nine teams. The players are both boys and girls and include ages five through high school. Players come from throughout Stark County and beyond.

They battle autism, Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, ADD, and various other disabilities, to play baseball.They wear regulation Little League uniforms, play on regulation fields and use regulation equipment (with some modifications made for ability).

WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?

The mission of Canton Challenger Baseball is to give special needs children a chance to be “normal” and enjoy the benefits of Little League baseball. The organization works to make sure every child succeeds and grows on an individual level so that participants can learn to be part of a team, work hard and support each other.

WHAT DO YOU NEED MOST?

The Challengers can use help in many areas, including volunteer coaching, financial donations and fans. “The kids love to play for a crowd — it is one of their greatest joys to hear everyone cheering for them,” said Bonnie McClellan, director.

“Quite honestly, what we need most is financial support. We take all of our kids to the state tournament and put them up in hotels for the weekend. For many of our families, this is their only vacation. Our players are excited and confident in representing our community.”

The Challengers hold fundraisers throughout the year to help offset the cost of the tournament.

ABOUT CANTON CHALLENGER BASEBALL

What: A nonprofit organization that provides an opportunity for special needs children to participate in an organized sport.

Board members: Bonnie McClellan, director; Sean Broom, vice president and board delegate; Teri Hannen, treasurer; Lisa Williams, fundraising chair; Beth Philley, head team mom; Ryan Wolfe, trustee.

Donations c/o Canton Challenger Baseball, 3078 Huntcliffe Rd NE, Canton OH 44721.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass