Jackson County woman uses basketball to push for disability awareness

(Photo Source: WLOX News)
(Photo Source: WLOX News)
Updated: Jan. 16, 2017 at 9:19 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - One Jackson County woman, a high school basketball team, and a meeting on the hardwood. This showdown is setting up a win bigger than most any game victory.

"To unify students with and without disabilities," Shaudell Brooks said.

The founder of the DREAMS Foundation is leading a campaign to raise disability awareness.

"I feel like it could be a domino effect. It starts with one person and can trickle down to another," said Brooks.

Monday, she rolled onto the basketball court bringing her message directly to the 15-4 Pascagoula Boys Basketball team.

"I can't lie, I was a little scared standing up there," Brooks said.

The boys were feeling the same way.

"People are kinda intimidated by people with disabilities because they don't really know how to interact with them," said senior Jarvis Walley.?

Still, they listened intently.

"Just her coming in here and speaking to us about her life story, it was touching; and telling us about her crying. Man, I wanted to start crying," said senior Noel Jones.

As Brooks described the importance of accessibility and inclusion.

"She's overcome a lot - to me she's not even in that wheelchair," Jones said.

Coach Lorenzo Wright is a huge supporter of Brooks' mission.

"Ever since I met Shaudell, she's been a huge inspiration to me," Wright said.

Hoping his guys see her triumph as an area to improve themselves.

"She's overcome her disability and it's just something I think my guys need to be a part of and I need to be a part of," Wright said.

The team is already jumping at the initiative with Brooks giving them two challenges.

"Having them take a pledge that says I'm going to eliminate the word 'can't' from my vocabulary," Brooks said.

And to dream to the fullest. She handed out wristbands as a reminder with the hope that her message goes beyond the confines of the Panther gym.

"It says dream the impossible and strive for greatness and that's what I think we're gonna do," said junior Jonas Burley.Brooks is hoping

Brooks will serve as an honorary player in Tuesday's game against Long Beach High School. She hosts the gala for her foundation Saturday.

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