Bowling league strikes chord with community

The Hartselle Shining Stars welcomed more than 50 people to take part in their second annual bowling league. The league brought in participants from ages 5-75 and from as far away as Athens. 

Staci Wells, director of the program, said the Shining Stars sports teams always bring dozens of participants – even participants who don’t live in Morgan County. “There aren’t a lot of programs like ours in the area,” Wells said. 

In addition to giving the participants something fun to do and a way to socialize with other individuals, the Shining Stars programming has helped families connect with one another. “The parents have made friends with each other, and they do things with each other outside of this program, Wells said. “It is kind of like they have formed a new family with the same struggles. Nobody really understands some of the obstacles that you are facing like the ones that have faced the same ones.” 

The bowling league played games at Hartselle Family Lanes throughout the month of July. Wells said Family Lanes even opened on Mondays to accommodate the programming. “We have been really blessed with the community,” she said. “A lot of the things we do are through donations and people stepping up and volunteering. Without that, we couldn’t do it, and a lot of our volunteers volunteer for every event that we have.” 

Enquirer photo/Lauren Jackson

Shining Stars closed the bowling season with an awards ceremony for all participants. 

“They are always so excited at the end of the season when they get medals,” said Wells, “and just like everyone else, they are always so excited when they get a strike. It’s a big deal. They don’t just celebrate themselves; the other people on the lane will get excited with them. They are not ‘It’s all about me.’ It’s all about everybody. 

“If everyone in the world was that happy and content, the world would be a better place,” Wells added. “They are cheerleaders for each other; they are not just about themselves.” 

In addition to sports leagues, Shining Stars has offered a variety of events for those with special needs throughout the year. Participants have taken part in pageants, camps and more through the program. 

Shining Stars will be partnering with the Falkville VFW for a Bingo night Aug. 17, and their annual softball league will be returning in the fall. 

All programming through the Shining Stars is free for individuals with special needs and their immediate families and is possible through community sponsorship. Wells said the upcoming softball season will need team sponsors and volunteers to carry on the program that can bring joy to anyone who participates. 

Anyone interested in getting involved with Shining Stars or sponsoring a softball team can contact Wells at the Sparkman Civic Center at 256-773-2581.

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