April 5, 2020

CAPS: Dreams for Kids with Chimera, Erskine and Beagle

“No matter what, skating always seems to bring a smile to their face. It’s priceless. You can’t beat this. It’s an easy one to come and support. It’s fun for us too.” – Jason Chimera after spending time with participants of Dreams for Kids

Dreams for Kids participants, volunteers and Washington Capitals Erskine, Chimera and Beagle at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The Washington Capitals teamed up for the second-straight year with Dreams for Kids (DFK) to host Extreme Recess Hockey on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Washington Capitals forwards Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera, defenseman John Erskine and mascot Slapshot skated with children with physical and developmental disabilities following the Capitals practice. Many participants were skating for the first time and the Caps players helped put big smiles on the participants’ faces.

Glenda Fu, Executive Director of Dreams for Kids, explained DFK as, “A non-profit that has life-changing programs to help empower these children with disabilities, to teach them how to give back to the community and fearlessly pursue their dreams.”

Volunteers skate with a Dreams for Kids participant around the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Fu stated that Dreams for Kids has done extreme recess clinics with the Washington Nationals, Washington Mystics, DC United and other local organizations, however, the Caps clinic is one of their biggest events with close to 70 kids. Clinics are absolutely free and open to children, under the age of 25, with disabilities ranging from physical to developmental. No previous ice skating or hockey experience required. If you are a parent or guardian of a child with a disability in the DC Metro Area, sign up for the DFK listserve today, and find out the latest news and events for your child.

“A lot of the kids are out here for the first time and don’t really get to do this kind of thing, so I’m glad I get to be a part of it,” Erskine said.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Many of the kids I spoke to were huge Caps fans and they really knew their stuff. Joe, age 6 from Annandale, VA was a returning participant to this event. Joe’s favorite player last year was Jason Arnott and proudly wore a #44 jersey to the clinic. Joe’s current favorite player is Troy Brouwer and offered up the statistics on his hat trick. He has high-functioning Asperger’s and stats are his thing. Joe’s mom Beth explained that Joe knows the entire Caps and Bears rosters and can recite any stat from the season. These kids are fantastic.

Dreams for Kids participants enjoying hockey at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Chimera, Erskine, Beagle and Slapshot made their way around the ice to pose for photographs, talk a little hockey, provide skating and shooting tips and encourage them to strive for their goals. One of the best parts is having some of their sports idols here to cheer them on,” said Fu.

A participant enjoys sledding on ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

It was the Caps second year to host the event, however, a first for this year’s players. Unfortunately, no one from last year’s group is currently playing for the Capitals. David Steckel is now with Toronto, Matt Bradley is with Florida, Tom Poti is on long term injured reserve and Assistant Coach Bob Woods joined Broudreau in Anaheim.

Jay Beagle was not familiar with DFK before the event and was inspired. He said, “It means a lot to me to come out and have these kids out here and supporting us and I hope that I can give back and put some smiles on some faces.”

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

“Anytime you get kids that have a little harder time in life with disabilities and mental illness, it’s nice to see them out and having fun.” Chimera continued, “Every person out here has a smile on their face,” said Chimera. “The kids really are enjoying themselves and it makes it a lot of fun.”

Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

I will have to agree with Jay Beagle. “This event is so much fun,” said Beagle. “It’s great to be out here skating with kids who are having a blast.”

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The Capitals provided T-shirts for all of the participants and volunteers. Beagle, Chimera and Erskine also signed autographs for all of the participants during and after the event.

All participants at the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 received autographed photos of Erskine, Beagle and Chimera. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

I was very impressed by the Dreams for Kids organization which enables children with disabilities to enjoy sports and realize their full potential to succeed in all walks of life.

Additional Photos:

Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera chats with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

A Dreams for Kids participant sits on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Dreams for Kids participant Josh at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Volunteers lift a participant into a sled at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

A volunteer guides a Dreams for Kids participant around the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine poses with Joe, a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Washington Capitals John Erskine and Jason Chimera pose with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Slapshot guides a Dreams for Kids participant around the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Washington Capitals, volunteers and participants at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

A Dreams for Kids participant shoots and scores at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Dreams for Kids participant Josh and mom Julie at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

 

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Group Photo 1 of 2: Dreams for Kids participants, volunteers and Washington Capitals Erskine, Chimera and Beagle at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Group Photo 2 of 2: Dreams for Kids participants, volunteers and Washington Capitals Erskine, Chimera and Beagle at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

About Dreams for Kids
Dreams for Kids is an international youth organization and 501(c) (3) children’s charity, with a mission to empower young people of all abilities through dynamic leadership programs and life-changing activities. By helping others find their dreams, they can realize their own. For more information about Dreams for Kids DC, visit www.dreamsforkids.org/dc.

DFK has been in the Washington, D.C., area for the past three years and continues to reach out to at-risk youth in the Washington, D.C., area. They believe and promote the uniqueness of all children and help empower them to reach their dreams, while also giving back to the community. By giving these isolated groups of children the opportunity to be leaders in sports and rigorous activities, they can see their greatness and potential in overcoming life challenges.

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

About Cheryl Nichols

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events since 2006. Cheryl has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the amazing write up Cheryl! the photos are fantastic! Thank you for supporting us and spreading our mission! Best, Glenda

    • Cheryl Nichols says:

      You’re very welcome Glenda. It was a pleasure meeting you and learning more about the organization. Keep up the amazing work!

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