Orlando Hudson, center, is surrounded by several children who attended his C.A.T.C.H. event at Dodger Stadium.
Hudson making a difference in children lives
By Tamara Latta
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Orlando Hudson took time to welcome children with disabilities to Dodger town.
Hudson hosted his C.A.T.C.H (Curing Autism Through Change and Hope) foundation at the Dodgers Stadium this past weekend for the first time. There were about 20 children on hand from The Special Needs Network, who offers their services to low-income families. All children who were in attendance are affected by autism and other disabilities. Autism is a disorder that is diagnosed between 18 months and 3 years old.
Before getting suited up for the game on Friday, Hudson took time to greet the children. He walked around hugging all the kids, posing for pictures, and signing autographs. They also got a chance to hangout on the field and watch the players take on batting practice. Each child received a program t-shirt, tickets to game, and a dinner courtesy of Panda Express.
“I just want to see the children happy and having fun,” said Hudson.
It takes a lot of work to interact with autistic children. When dealing with kids with autism you have to show interests. That means having an appealing environment where there is room to grow. But this is often neglected, and that’s where Hudson wants to complete that void. The non-profit organization was established back in 2008. After spending time in a classroom monitoring the kids in South Carolina, Hudson noticed they were not being treated fairly. He knew that if he ever made it to the big league, he wanted to make a difference in their life. His foundation is focused on making the children feel like normal people. There’s not a lot of attention turned to children with Autism, so he wants to be the first person to make that change.
“The kids go to school two hours a day and it’s pathetic,” said Hudson.” I told my mom if God ever saw a fit for me to the big leagues, I wanted to start my own foundation”.
Every year, Hudson puts together at least 6 events for the kids. Making sure they’re enjoying life. One of his biggest events is the Celebrity Basket Ball game held in his hometown South Carolina. It’s called the Mary, Brittany, and Matthew basketball classic, which he named after three children who he quickly became accustomed to that, suffer from autism. All funds raised for the event are reported to the special education department.
It’s very rare that the public hear how athletes take time to turn to the community.
Most athletes are known for being all-star players on the field, but Hudson has shown his interest in both directions- on and off the field. He cares about what’s going on outside the sports world. After starting his own foundation he has got support from other athletes as well. Just to name a few Derek Jeter, Kenny Griffith JR., and Larry Fitzgerald. But there’s still one thing that Hudson wishes for; that more African- American families get involved in his program.
“I just wish more African-American mothers would open up” said Hudson.