Inclusion is defined as the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure. Isaiah is part of the Long Beach Gladiators a “wrestling inclusion team” who are more like family out of Long Beach, NY and led by an extraordinary man and coach Miguel Rodriguez.
I first heard of Isaiah Bird in April of 2014 when I saw his story on News 12 Long Island. When I first saw Isaiah on television I was immediately drawn in and amazed by him. He was 6 years old at the time when the segment aired. Seeing Isaiah and his team I knew I wanted to recognize them for the excellence they achieve in their sport and their community. I reached out to Let All the Children Play in January to do a fundraising event for their Inclusion Playground and I knew that if we were going to raise awareness for the park we needed to recognize Inclusion within the community, as well. I love Long Island I grew up here and I know we have children doing remarkable things and what better way to recognize what they do then, by having an Inspirational Child of the Year. The first child that came to mind was young Isaiah Bird who I had seen on television 9 months prior. Seeing 1 segment on him in a news hour had left such an impression on me I knew we had to share his story with the community.
Once Shea from Let All the Children Play (LATCP) and myself got started on the event I reached out immediately to the team and told them I would be honored if they would join us at the event on May 2nd at the LATCP playground. I first spoke to Dianne Giorlando and Marissa Carucci of the Long Beach Gladiators and both ladies were so easy to talk to over the phone. I then spoke to Coach Miguel Rodriguez and he took the time to hear about what we were doing at the event and how we wanted to raise awareness for the park and Inclusion. I could not wait to meet Isaiah and honor him in front of all of his peers at the park. Coach went one step further and said, “after speaking with Isaiah he would love to do a wrestling demonstration at the park.” Momee Friends and Let All the Children Play were delighted to showcase the Long Beach Gladiators at the event.
Over 4 months of planning for the event and having local businesses join us in supporting Inclusion we had a great free family day in the park for ALL to enjoy with the goal of raising money for the park all sponsored by CITY MD.
When I first met the team their energy was infectious and you could see the love they had for one another. A polite group of young men led by a dedicated coach. When I first met Isaiah he was a little shy but, once he got onto the playground he was like every other 7 year old boy would be and just wanted to play. That is what makes the Let ALL the Children Play playground at Eisenhower Park (Field 4) so special. Kids can be kids no matter their age or abilities since there is playground equipment accessible for ALL.
By the time 12:30 came and it was time for us to showcase Isaiah and the Long Beach Gladiators the excitement of the event was so high I became emotional. Seeing this diverse team of young men working with one another on the mat was inspiring. The wrestling demonstration was led by their coach Miguel Rodriguez and the boys put on a impressive demonstration.
Isaiah is a remarkable young man and he deserves to be recognized for having a huge heart, courage and resilience in life and the sport he loves.
Not only did we present Isaiah with his award, we presented Coach Miguel Rodriquez and his team with an award supporting one another.
I thank the Long Beach Gladiators for being part of this great event and allowing Momee Friends to spend a few hours with you and have a memory that we will never forget. Your team and Isaiah are a picture perfect representation of Inclusion and I know everyone who was at the event was inspired by you.
To quote Isaiah, ” I have no legs and it’s no excuses. I am Isaiah Bird, no excuses!”
Check out Isaiah on the remarkable story of the bond between him and his coach on a Sports Center ESPN feature —>
Momee Friends of Long Island wants to hear about kids who are shining in our community. Each month, Momee Friends of Long Island will give special recognition to an outstanding child who voluntarily gives back to our community. They serve as an inspiration to others, demonstrating how small acts of kindness and compassion positively impact the greater community.
Please nominate a child by emailing me at Momeefriendsli@gmail.com or click here