Local Sports Journal
Cyndi Blair, who founded No More Sidelines in 2006, will receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame.
Blair, the mother of five children and the Nursing and Medical Supervisor for Muskegon County Community Mental Health, started the program to provide children and young adults with various special needs the opportunity to participate on athletic teams and have opportunities afforded to mainstream children.
No More Sidelines began with seven children, including Blair’s daughter Alivia, who has cerebral palsy and autism. NMS now involves more than 300 local special needs children and their families in a variety of activities, including 13 area high schools and four colleges which participate in integrated clinics and games. The organization operates out of the Folkert Community Hub, located in the former General Dynamics building at 640 Seminole in Norton Shores, and is in the process of remodeling it to provide for a plethora of activities and jobs for those with special needs.
“I’m proud that this program has helped these kids look at themselves differently and the community now looks at these kids in a different way – they aren’t just stuck in a room at the end of the hallway any more,” said Blair, a North Muskegon resident.
The program has been modeled in Grand Rapids, Holland and Lansing and now Blair is fielding calls from special needs advocates looking to start No More Sidelines programs in South Carolina and other parts of the country.
The Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame was organized in 1986 and honors local heroes and legends. The Hall’s exhibits are housed on the concourse level of the L.C. Walker Arena in downtown Muskegon.
In 1991, the Hall of Fame board of directors decided to expand the hall to include an award to a member of the community in honor of their dedication to athletics in a non-participatory manner, which is when the Distinguished Service Award began. A complete list of past service award winners is attached to this release and more information can be found on the hall’s web site – www.mashf.com.
Blair will be inducted at the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame’s 28th annual induction banquet on Saturday, June 7 at the Muskegon Country Club. Other inductees are Dusty Fairfield, Glenn Meyers, Tom Kresnak and male and female student-athlete honorees to be announced in May.