Marin County woman's organization gives opportunity for all to play sports.
CBS Bay Area News, April 27, 2022
Who We Are
PAASS became a non-profit in 2014 as an evolution and expansion of two sports leagues known as Challenger baseball and basketball. The Challenger baseball program and basketball program support and provide opportunities for children and young adults (5-21) with developmental delays and learning differences to participate in local community-based sports leagues. We are currently working with community members to expand available programs to include tennis and other recreational opportunities. We will continue to update our website.
Our participants are supported by peer volunteers who facilitate socialization, engagement and provide individual coaching. The participants in turn teach the volunteers the value of inclusion and acceptance. Volunteers and participants leave with a larger sense of who they are and how they can make a difference.
The mission and goal of PAASS are to create an inclusive supportive environment for individuals with developmental delays and learning challenges and to allow them to participate in community-based sports and recreational programs. PAASS is also striving to raise understanding and acceptance. These programs invite high school and middle school students to volunteer and support participants in various sports programs and activities. The volunteers gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives and approaches to thinking and living as well as learning to look beyond any differences and recognize each person’s potential. This in turn promotes personal growth for everyone involved in the program. Ultimately, we hope that this creates more opportunities for the participants as we believe that engaging community members leads to a better understanding of the importance of inclusion. We need to stand side by side and support each other. This is how we see community.
Tyler Barbee, with his mother Janet Miller both founders of PAASS, originally known as Challenger Baseball and Basketball, was looking to create an inclusive supportive environment for children with special needs. His older brother Connor is autistic. Tyler knew that Connor was special and he just needed the opportunity to show this. Baseball had always been a huge part of Tyler’s life and he wanted to share this with his brother. Tyler also believed that having peer volunteers support and engage the players would be important. Connor was usually included at his local elementary school and Tyler saw how much he benefited from being around his peers in a controlled environment. Tyler also realized how much they learned from Connor.
Tyler wants to eliminate barriers. He wants people to change the way they think about others who may be different. Individuals with special needs have an unbelievably powerful and beautiful perspective on life that we all need to experience. Tyler is inspired every day by his brother Connor and how hard he works to do many of the things we all take for granted. Tyler wants to open doors so that individuals with special needs will have the same opportunities as others because they deserve it. We all have something to offer and we just need the right support to show this. PAASS hopes to create this environment of support for every individual.
Project Awareness and Special Sports (PAASS)
Janet Miller, President
Jade Schoenhoeft, Vice President
Pam Sowerby, Treasurer
Steve Stewart, Director
Kristi DeBisschop, Director
Tyler Barbee, Advisor
PAASS In The Media
Pacific Sun: Heroes of Marin: Tyler Barbee
Marin IJ: Mill Valley teen lauded for starting special-needs sports leagues
Enjoy Mill Valley: Baseball League for Athletes with Special Needs Gets Spotlight at Boyle Park on May 3
MNBC Bay Area: Mill Valley Boy Starts Own Baseball League In Order To Play With Older Brother With Autism
Enjoy Mill Valley: Mill Valley Recreation Honored for Its Collaboration with Local Adaptive Needs NonProfit PAASS
Enjoy Mill Valley: Profiles in Kindness featuring PAASS Volunteers Skye Schoenhoeft & Ethan Swergold
Connor's Story: Meet Connor and learn how everyone benefits when we build an inclusive, welcoming place for us all.