Founded: 1972 (The organization was originally founded as the Baltimore Ravens). At that time, it was an adaptive recreation program sponsored by The League (for People with Disabilities) and the Maryland Rehabilitation Center. In 1984, the program became a separate entity and acquired its own non-profit status in 1987 as Baltimore Ravens Wheelchair Basketball Club, Inc. In the late 1990s, the name was changed to Maryland Ravens, Inc.
Outcomes and Evaluations:
We measure personal development (i.e., athletic progress, communication and socialization skills especially as they relate to interacting with school students and/or educators) of our physically challenged participants. We usually see remarkable transitioning from the physically challenged person who sits at home...to becoming a respected/appreciated role model in the eyes of Maryland students...especially in communities where positive role models are scarce. We find that their involvement allows our participants the opportunities to become better speakers, better team players and better persons.
To measure our project’s results, we rely on: 1) feedback letters from the school’s administrators and students after our presentations, 2) media evaluations (i.e., newspaper articles, television and radio sound bits, etc.), 3) oral and written feedback from our physically challenged participants during quarterly progress meeting, 4) periodic questionnaires (when schools do not return feedback letters), 5) number and type of presentations (initial visits, word-of-mouth referrals and repeat visits are good indicators that our demonstrations were well received by the schools), 6) athletic skills assessment chart/logs, 7) athletic competition against other physically challenged persons, 8) competition against non-disabled educators at the various schools, 9) video critiquing of communication skills and techniques, and 10) evaluation and recommendations from our in-house Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who performs a semi-annual review of the training and conditioning programs.
Using the tools above, we are able to determine whether our mission and messages are heard by our physically challenged participants; whereby, they are able to communicate similar messages to the non-disabled public. Additionally, the results enable us to make necessary changes, which improve our communication skills.
Athletically, we evaluate the person’s acquired skills by scheduling competition against other wheelchair basketball groups to determine each participant’s strength and/or weakness. After the competitive assessment, we attempt to assist the participant utilize their strengths and improve their weaknesses so that we as an organization can provide top quality wheelchair basketball demonstrations to the students.
If your school or agency wishes to host our wheelchair athletes, call us at (410)825-5359 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Here's what they are saying...
What a great way to celebrate abilities awareness at our school. Thanks for a wonderful show! Not only are you great basketball players but wonderful role models for our kids! says Paul Dowell, Jones Lane Elementary School.
The Maryland Ravens are one of the most inspiring programs we have ever seen. We had the distinct honor to have them at Jones Lane Elementary School for assemblies two different years (2012 and 2015). Both years, students and staff were inspired by their enthusiasm, energy, and willingness to share their stories with everyone.
During the assembly the Ravens played basketball against our staff and students. The kids in the audience were engaged and excited. A wheelchair became a wanted item, an experience, instead of a disability. If a child or teacher had trouble making a basket, the teammate encouraged them to try until they made the basket. The Maryland Ravens showed our students and staff perseverance and grit in every minute they were with us. Yet they also taught students that playing basketball in a wheelchair is tougher than it looks! The teammates were independent and open about their disability and that contributed to the engagement of students.
Our school has 4 Autism/Learning Center classes. The students in these classes were equally engaged. The Maryland Ravens team joined Autism classes for their recess and played ball with them. These students were given the opportunity to try the wheelchairs after their presentation was over. The Ravens invested time in getting to know our students and being the inspiration to help them succeed.
We learned about the Maryland Ravens Basketball team from a Jones Lane staff member who has seen them before. We have since recommended them to other schools.
Our committee plans an Ability Awareness Week each year. During this week we have individuals with a variety of disabilities come into classes to talk about themselves. The Ravens concluded our week through their inspiring energy and ability to work together as a team. Our students were left being able to feel more comfortable with people who have disabilities as well as impressed.
Betsy Balicao, Stacy Kravitz and Katie Smeltz
Thank you for being a part of the Disability Awareness Program at North Caroline High School. It was a pleasure to meet you and your team. The presentation was amazing and I know the students and staff enjoyed every minute of it! I look forward to seeing you again in the future!
Dolly McMahon - Coordinator
Family Support Services/Partners for Success
Caroline County Public Schools
Dear Maryland Ravens, Thank you for coming to our school on Tuesday, October 18th. It made us feel "happy", "curious", "awesome" and "excited" to watch you play basketball. When you shared your personal stories with us, we felt "good", "that we were with friends and family" and "it made us want to play with you". "I was sad when I heard about the accidents. But, I was happy when I was playing with you guys." "It was hard!" "I wondered how it felt to be a basketball player." "I feel like I should play basketball too." "I felt so happy. I liked it". "I had a good time!" "It makes me face challenges". "It made me feel famous." "Never give up!" You inspired us and we truly enjoyed the assembly.
Mrs. Morgan's 5th grade class
January 18, 2017
Eddie and the Maryland Ravens:
On behalf of Sacred Heart School of Glyndon, I would like to thank you and your team for the assembly last week. Your positive message that it is not about disability, but about ability, resonated strong with the faculty and students. The children and staff greatly enjoyed participating in the games and wheelchair rides and watching the impressive skill of the team. We also appreciated your team sharing their stories and journeys with us.
I would highly recommend your team for any organization looking to further education on overcoming challenges and changing “disability” mentalities. Thank you again!
Cultural Arts Chair
Sacred Heart of Glyndon School
Beverly Farms Elementary School students speak out...
Dear Regional Wheelchair Basketball Champions:
Thank you for inspiring Beverly Farms with your meaningful words. It was really cool to see you play basketball in wheelchairs. You are great role models. Now, we know to not focus on our disabilities, but to focus on our abilities! Thanks for teaching us how to believe in ourselves and work together as a team...once again.
Kira, Catherine, Denzel
Mrs. Cashmere's Class
Dear Maryland Ravens:
Thank you for going out of your way to tell us some cool things. I really liked the small "speech" that you said "It's not about what you can't do; It's about enjoying what you already do."
I thought it was really inspiring to see that someone who has 4 fingers at birth be in the NWBA Hall of Fame. I definitely doubt that I could hold a basketball with 4 fingers.
It must be impossible to play basketball without jumping...Your presentation makes me want to try wheelchair basketball in the future.
Dear Maryland Ravens:
Thank you for coming to our school today. It was really inspiring to see you pursue your dreams. You are really great players and you have a great "Hall of Fame" wheelchair basketball coach. It was very cool how you beat the teachers...You put on a wonderful show.
Celebrating Ability Awareness Week with the Maryland Ravens Wheelchair Basketball team!! It was so much fun!" says
Celeste Greaves says..."I have never enjoyed an assembly so much!" — at Goshen Elementary.
The Maryland Ravens have come to our school several times to do assemblies to kick off our Ability Awareness Week. We keep inviting them back and will continue to do so, because they are simply amazing! Their message of “It’s not what you can’t do, it’s what you can do” really resonated with all our students in grades K-5. The students and staff were so impressed with the way they moved around and played basketball, despite their challenges. Their positive attitudes and motivation are contagious! If you have not had them come to your school, you must do so! They are great with children of all ages and the best part….the students and staff get to play ball too! Happy new year, Ravens!
Suzanne Pape, School Counselor/DuFief Elementary School