Taking Flight: Selecting Sparrows

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MEDFORD, Ore. — While students prepare to head back to school in less than a month, local children in need are preparing to meet those students. Sparrow Clubs has already selected about nine sparrows for the school year.

It’s a first meeting that can be emotional, as families explain some of the hardest times of their lives. This meeting is part of the process in choosing “sparrows” for the upcoming school year.

“I have mixed emotions because it’s so hard to hear. I leave every meeting with tears in my eyes, just wondering how a family copes with what they’re dealing with, but it gives me a chance to bond with these families,” described Matt Sampson, the Regional Director of Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs. “I envision how this kid is going to impact the lives of these students.”

For this meeting, that kid is Dennis, a toddler with spinabifida. Due to his spinabifida, he can’t walk, but at just two-years-old, Dennis has learned to overcome that.

“He can’t walk, but he army crawls, he has a wheel chair, he gets around,” said Dennis’ mother, Misty Bedal.

In less than a month, Dennis will do even more: inspiring a school as one of our region’s newest Sparrows.

“Challenge kids to get involved in his life,” said Matt Sampson, “challenge the kids to put themselves on the backburner and focus on kids like Dennis in order to improve his life.”

Before getting to this point, Sparrow families have to submit an application, detailing their child’s life-threatening or life-changing illness, signed by a medical professional…and then it has to be a good fit.

“This project that we’re going to do is very much about you, but it’s not all about you,” said Matt Sampson. “We’re using your kid for change.”

Change…expected to be inspired by a toddler who can’t walk; inspiration…to teach him to fly.

If you would like your child to be a sparrow, you can find information on Sparrow Clubs’ website. You can also get ahold of the organization’s regional director, Matt Sampson at matt@sparrowclubs.org.

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  1. Kevin Newins says:

    Your Taking Flight story was very well done. My grandson, Kaleb Lahr has been a Sparrow for 2 years for Grants Pass High. The children involved serve our communities as well as encouraging the families thru unthinkable circumstances.
    Thanks again for taking interest and getting the word out for the Sparrow Club and all the children.


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