UPDATE (1/24 2:56 p.m.): The Shooting 2 Change event has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Jan. 31 due to incoming severe weather, according to a Facebook post made by the administration at Saraland City Schools.

SARALAND, Ala. (WKRG) – Special basketball games tonight in Saraland are part of a statewide program to help bridge the gap between students with autism and their typical peers. Shooting 2 Change is a statewide basketball program that teaches acceptance of people with special needs through athletics. We’ve talked about this program before. In 2020 we went to Saraland for a What’s Working segment. In 2019 we covered a Shooting 2 Change game in Daphne.

Tonight’s games at Saraland High School are a homecoming of sorts. The program was started by Saraland Elementary Special Education Teacher Scott Parks and Saraland Basketball Coach Drew Powell and his wife Jenny when they worked in Spanish Fort. It was started to help the coach’s son who has autism and the hundreds of kids like him. This is a special night because the teachers that started it are back in the Saraland school system. Scott Parks says it’s important to teach this to kids, saying one in 44 children is diagnosed with autism.

“They’re growing up in communities where the whole community needs to learn how to come alongside them, what we try to teach as our vision, it’s not about the one in 44, it’s about the other 43 kids too need to learn how to promote awareness and understanding for disabilities,” said Saraland Elementary Special Education Teacher Scott Parks. This special event is an outgrowth of Project Outreach at Saraland schools. Its goal is to create relationships between individuals with disabilities and their typical peers. Typical students in the club spend time every week interacting with the special needs kids. The games at Saraland high start at 5:30 Tuesday evening.