Grateful parents share their story of their son’s experience with the Northshore Wranglers.
The Northshore Wranglers Inclusion Program has had a huge effect on the life of our son, Marcus Hodges. After graduating from Woodinville High School in 2005, Marcus began participating in Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) Track and Bowling with the Woodinville Wranglers, which was founded by Cindy Shelton with Cole Caplan as the Coach. Marcus enjoyed the sports and making many new friends along with some continued relationships from high school. He saw dramatic changes occur when the program expanded and the Wranglers became part of the Northshore Senior Center under the leadership of Program Coordinator Cole Caplan.
Marcus was born with Spina Bifida which causes his developmental disabilities. He faces many challenges every day with a positive attitude, but adjustment to change and new venues or activities can challenge him, a common issue for many people with disabilities. Sometimes Marcus is even reluctant to try new activities. The Northshore Inclusion Program has enriched his life by giving him opportunities for tremendous growth, even having fun with activities that we may never have imagined. The Northshore Wranglers staff and volunteers exhibit deep care about each person and always develop ways to help the Wranglers.
The Wranglers were extremely fortunate when Bernadette Bascom arrived to develop “The Music Project” with them! Marcus attended Bernadette’s introductory class, when we all first saw her skill and experience with such a warm and caring welcome! That first year Marcus and Bernadette sang a duet together in their annual December concert. Through “The Music Project” Bernadette encouraged Marcus and the other Wranglers to gain confidence never before seen in their lives. Each Wrangler chooses their own song in January and practices all year for their solo. And Marcus just loves being “center” stage!
Personally, Marcus often finds it difficult to sit still and be quiet. However, at the first Drama performance of the Northshore Wranglers, he was totally absorbed and enthralled. He enthusiastically demanded to be signed up. In Drama productions, Marcus has played characters all the way from the Scarecrow in the “Wizard of Oz” to Olaf (the Snowman) in “Frozen.” These roles chosen by the Drama director (formerly Jonathan Reis and now Mark Waldstein) captured Marcus’ personality which inspired him to bring the house down with each performance.
Marcus enjoys a number of other Northshore Wranglers classes and the Special Olympics, although his disabilities prevent participation in all of what’s offered. Marcus looks forward to Fitness class each week, and we all see how much it’s improving his strength and agility. Marcus goes to the program on Mondays, where he spends the whole day with his Wrangler friends.
The lessons Marcus has learned with the Wranglers have transferred to other parts of his life. He’s learned patience. He’s much more open to new experiences, which really benefits our family life. It also gives Marcus the opportunity to have more life experience with fun. Our entire family is very grateful for the Northshore Wranglers!
Jerome and Linda Hodges (Parents of Marcus)
Wranglers 5K Run/Walk
Sept. 9, 2017
Race begins at 8:30 a.m.
Race day registration
starts at 7 a.m.
Sammamish River Park
This event is for the whole family. Superhero costumes are encouraged.