+
upworthy
Heroes

Amy Bockerstette is the first athlete with Down syndrome to compete in a collegiate championship

Amy Bockerstette is the first athlete with Down syndrome to compete in a collegiate championship
via AmyGolfsandDances / Twitter

Golfer Amy Bockerstette made history three years ago when she became the first person with Down syndrome to earn a full college athletic scholarship.

Now, she's making history again by being the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship.

Bockerstette and her teammates from Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona will be playing at the NJCAA national championships May 10-13 at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida.



Bockerstette's golfing career started in the eight grade when she impressed her school's golf coach so much, he told her parents she should play for the school's team. Boy was he right.

In high school, Bockerstette qualified for the Arizona state high school tournament twice and was named one of the AZCentral.com's "Ten Most Intriguing High School Athletes of 2017."

AzCentral praised her ability to hit from the tee saying that she "launched shots 200 yards down the middle of fairways." It also praised her infectious attitude calling her a "4-foot-9 girl full of sunshine."

Bockerstette is an active Special Olympian who competes in golf, swimming, and volleyball and plays Challenger baseball. She also is very musical, she studies dance in college and plays the piano.

In January 2019, Bockerstette became a viral sensation after her performance on the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. During the Tuesday practice round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, she was invited to play as a Special Olympics representative and was teamed with professional golfer Gary Woodland and playing partner Matt Kuchar.

Bockersette hit her tee shot into a greenside bunker. But recovered nicely with a spectacular chip shot out of the sand, rolling the ball to within eight feet of the cup. Confidently stating "I got this," she then made the put to the roar of the crowd.

Video of her fantastic performance went viral amassing over 43 million views.

Gary Woodland surprises Amy from Special Olympics Arizona 2019www.youtube.com

"I've been blessed to do lot of cool things on the golf course but that is by far the coolest thing I've ever experienced," Woodland told Golf.com. "She was phenomenal. And then to step up in front of all the people and the crowd and everything and to hit the shots that she hit and made par, I never rooted so hard for somebody on a golf course and it was an emotional, emotional, really cool experience."

Bockersette's confident declaration of "I got this" became a rallying cry for people with Down syndrome and their advocates. The comment spawned the I Got This Foundation, an organization created by Bockersette and her family that provides opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to play golf.

Bockerstette is a wonderful example of what can happen with people with disabilities are given the chance to participate in sports. Her visibility as a golfer is a great way to encourage others with Down syndrome to get into the sport and is also a wake-up call to the sport's gatekeepers to be more inclusive.

Community

How to end hunger, according to the people who face it daily

Here’s what people facing food insecurity want you to know about solving the hunger problem in America

True

Even though America is the world’s wealthiest nation, about 1 in 6 of our neighbors turned to food banks and community programs in order to feed themselves and their families last year. Think about it: More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021 (1 in 8 children).

In order to solve a problem, we must first understand it. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its second annual Elevating Voices: Insights Report and turned to the experts—people experiencing hunger—to find out how this issue can be solved once and for all.

Here are the four most important things people facing hunger want you to know.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pets

Family brings home the wrong dog from daycare until their cats saved the day

A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.

Family accidentally brings wrong dog home but their cats knew

It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.

Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.

See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Long Truong on Unsplash
woman in white sleeveless dress kissing man in blue dress shirt


"It may be the most important thing we do in life; learn how to love and be loved."

At least, that's according to Harvard psychologist and researcher Rick Weissbourd.

He's been collecting data on the sex and love habits of young people for years through surveys, interviews, and even informal conversation — with teens and the important people in their lives.

Through it all, one thing has been abundantly clear:

"We spend enormous amount of attention helping parents prepare their kids for work and school," Weissbourd says. "We do almost nothing to prepare them for the tender, tough, subtle, generous, focused work of developing mature healthy relationships. I'm troubled by that."

Keep ReadingShow less
Sandra Maria/Youtube, Official Lives & Music Videos/Youtube

You can't not sing this song.

The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.

This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.
Keep ReadingShow less

Mom shares PSA on about being a sports mom while also working

Being a mom can be challenging enough, but when you add in working full time and kids activities, it feels like you need a few clones to help you out. Recently we signed our youngest up for soccer, he's 5-years-old and happens to be ten years younger than his closest sibling, so I've done the sports stuff.

At one point I was working full-time while my daughter took tap, ballet and jazz while also on a soccer team and my two older boys played soccer, baseball and football. We rarely saw the inside of our home unless it was to sleep, I'm not even sure I knew how my stove worked during those years. Now here we are starting all over again.

So when Mo, a mom running the TikTok page Rex & Mo posted a video ranting about how impossible it feels to add organized activities for kids into the mix, parents everywhere related, myself included.

Keep ReadingShow less
@mychal3ts/TikTok

This is "the power of the library"

Editor's Note: This story discusses suicide. If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


Libraries aren’t just a place to score free books. For many, they provide safe refuge.

This secondary offering has lately been overshadowed by political controversy, as there has been a laser focus from conservatives on the types of literature libraries provide, especially titles that pertain to LGBTQ and racial topics.

But one librarian’s retelling of a life saving encounter reminds us of how essential these community spaces really are—and it has nothing to do with books at all.

Keep ReadingShow less

When founder Zack Gazzaniga decided to start his own tortilla chip company, Zack's Mighty, his mission was to create a delicious chip that didn’t break in guacamole.

His quest to create the perfect chip took him to Italy, where he acquired Otto File flint corn (a very flavorful variety of flint corn now mostly grown in Italy for polenta), and then back to the U.S. to plant and grow it.

When connecting with farms to partner with to grow the corn, Zack began learning about regenerative agriculture and its benefits for the soil and climate. “Regenerative agriculture made so much sense to me that I decided then that this would be a pillar of our business and a mandate that everyone who grows our corn follows regenerative practices,” he says.

Regenerative agriculture combines conservation and rehabilitation practices to improve farmland soil and combat climate change. These practices include less tillage, crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting.

One of the farmers Zack connected with to grow organic and regenerative corn was Bryce Irlbeck in Manning, Iowa. “We began [fully] regenerative farming in 2019, but have been doing different aspects such as cover cropping and crop rotation for 10 years.”

Bryce’s farm in Iowa was one of Zack’s Mighty’s partner farms that spent two years in partnership with A Greener World, evaluating farm standards, plans, and auditing procedures to receive Certified Regenerative certification. This certification provides a whole-farm assurance of regeneration and sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare, and social responsibility. As of August 2022, all of Zack’s Mighty partner farms were officially certified.

Bryce’s advice to farmers looking to begin regenerative practices is to first “focus on figuring out a [crop] rotation since each area of the country will be different due to markets and weather patterns.”

Zack’s Mighty is thrilled to have cultivated a supply chain that uses organic ingredients and Certified Regenerative corn — ensuring its customers can be proud to align their values with their purchase.

“Our mission to make the best tortilla chip on the market starts with our ingredients and how they are produced. We want to assure our customers that we value transparency and source only high-quality ingredients to create delicious products that are truly good for the planet,” says Zack.