Headshot Photo of Tyler Barbee
2014 Award Recipient


Project Project Awareness and Special Sports

Location Mill Valley, CA

Issue Area Disability Justice | Mental Health & Emotional Support

Tyler was inspired by watching his older brother manage the challenges of autism. Tyler recognized that his brother’s participation in school programs and engagement with peers greatly improved his social skills. His brother’s example led Tyler to consider how he could help other teens with special needs explore, expand, and celebrate their own abilities. This led Tyler to form a local chapter of Challenger Baseball, an established division of the National Little League that facilitates kids with special needs participation in community-based sports programs.

Once Tyler had created a Challenger Baseball league in his community, he went further and created Challenger Basketball on the same premise. Tyler has forged connections between mainstream competitive teams and special needs teams, creating opportunities for all participants to experience teamwork, independence, and self-confidence. The skills players acquire through the program extend beyond the field, empowering them socially and academically.

I believe this league is empowering everyone to want to make the world a better place by making sure we all live side by side, supportive and respectful of who we are and what we all have to contribute.

Tyler Barbee
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller