27th Annual Watersports Day: People in Chattanooga with disabilities get to water ski
For 27 years, the SPARC group, which stands for sports, arts, and recreation of Chattanooga has put on a water sports day for those with disabilities.
Hundreds came on Saturday to First Lutheran Church Camp in Soddy-Daisy to enjoy a fun day on the lake.
This year they partnered with the Amerigroup foundation hoping to make this year even better.
There were kids with autism, some had down syndrome, and others were paraplegics. Parents said regardless of the disability, everyone had a good time.
"I would cry, I mean I was literally in tears the first 5 years I was here," said Rachel Salomon.
Salomon is a parent of three children with Autism. She says this event has brought joy to their family.
"There were no ways to just relax and have everyone just be celebrated instead of just pushed to the side and tolerated," said Salomon.
For over two decades, the group 'SPARC' has put on a water sports day-- hoping to splash some fun into participants' lives regardless of their disability.
Salomon says this event has become a family tradition for her all three of her children who navigate life with a handicap.
"It's been 20 years ago that we started with all three of my kids that are on the autism spectrum," Salomon told Channel 3.
While one of her kids is still participant, her other two kids with Autism are now volunteering at the event-- creating a ripple in the lives of others.
"Today Sam gives back and does a fishing clinic and his twin brother is still a participant here out on the waters," Salomon added.
Around 200 people gave their afternoon to take kids on boats, teach them to fish, and show them how to water ski.
"Everyone here is a volunteer volunteering their time trying to show everyone here just a wonderful time," Kraig Dalton with Amerigroup Tennessee told Channel 3.
Parents say this event has shaped their children's lives for the better.
"To see so many people here just volunteering, just here to help see so many kids have one day of pure pleasure, it was amazing," said Salomon.
The group SPARC is a local chapter of the Disabled Sports USA Organization.
For information on how you can donate to fund other SPARC events, visit their website.