AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – An Austintown gymnastics program is giving kids with developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in the sport.
The instructor of the program, Heidi Soriano, is this week’s Hometown Hero.
Tuesday nights are special for Soriano, as she spends several hours teaching gymnastics to a small group of children with developmental disabilities.
“The amount of pride on their face when they achieve something and then getting to look over at their parents and see their parents getting to see their kids accomplishing things,” she said.
The program at the Ohio Gymnastics Institute has been going strong for nearly two years.
President Ron Ferris is passionate about the sport and wanted all kids to have an opportunity.
“Putting them in their own group with an instructor that’s professionally trained to handle all the needs that they require — It’s been awesome,” he said.
Six kids are in the class, including Grace and CJ, who have been a part of it from the beginning.
Both children are living with autism, but they don’t allow it to slow them down.
“It’s just nice to be thought of because a lot of children don’t really accommodate special needs children,” said Angela Killingsworth, Grace’s mother.
“It’s kind of a struggle to see your child struggle, and for him to come here and have fun. He’s always happy to see her and so excited to be here and that just melts my heart. I’m so glad they decided to do this program,” said Michelle McDonald, CJ’s mother.
If you’re interested in getting your child signed up, reach out to the Ohio Gymnastics Institute through their website or by calling 330-652-4386.