BYU and RAH help others get strikes

BYU senior Braden Nelson (left) with RAH participant Quincy Brown at Tuesday's bowling activity at Miracle Bowl in Orem. Nelson has volunteered at RAH activities for the past year.
BYU senior Braden Nelson (left) with RAH participant Quincy Brown at Tuesday’s bowling activity at Miracle Bowl in Orem. Nelson has volunteered at RAH activities for the past year.

It sounded like a regular Tuesday night at Miracle Bowl in Orem — the rumble of balls rolling down the lane, the clashing of pins and the hollers of jubilated and frustrated players alike.

Amid the families and couples on dates was BYU senior Braden Nelson, who came to support a group of 30 adults with disabilities at their weekly bowling activity. Nelson, a neuroscience major from Richland, Washington, serves as the Recreation and Habilitation Services (RAH) program director at Y-Serve.

RAH is a private, nonprofit organization that helps train disabled individuals how to function effectively in society. The organization has been active in Utah County for more than 40 years.

Despite having some degree of mental or physical disability, many of Tuesday’s participants scored well above the casual bowler. Nelson said he isn’t surprised. He has been active at RAH events for the past year and knows that each individual has unique talents.

“There’s a whole community of handicapped people that you don’t really see in your day-to-day life,” Nelson said. “They deserve to be treated like real people.”

By the numbers on the scoreboards, it was clear to see that the disabled RAH participants are not only “real people” but real bowlers as well.

Quincy Brown, 35, of Spanish Fork, is an active member of RAH. He won RAH’s bowling tournament last year and has a high score of 189. He said he enjoys coming to all of the RAH events.

“We do a lot of fun stuff,” Brown said. “We go bowling, fishing, have Halloween events and a lot of dances.”

Brown said RAH members come from cities throughout Utah County to participate. He always comes to the activities because he enjoys the group and gives the RAH staff high marks.

“This guy!” Brown exlcaimed as he motioned to Nelson. “He’s a good guy!”

The two have become friends at weekly events.

“My favorite part is just coming and seeing my friends,” Nelson said. “I say hi, and they tell me stories. Just having that relationship is the best part.”

RAH staff member Angie Facer agrees. She has been working at RAH for three years, and according to her, its a dream job.

“I get to plan fun activities and do them with my favorite people,” she said.

Formerly known as Recreation for All Handicapped, the group’s name was changed to Recreation and Habilitation Services in 1993. The name change allowed the group to keep RAH as the nickname — something important to its participants.

According to the RAH Services website, “It is a symbol of the enthusiasm they have for life and learning and growing.”

BYU students assist RAH in a large way, whether it is helping with arts and crafts, being a friend or hurling 12-pound bowling balls for strikes.

Tuesday sounded like a regular day at the bowling alley, and that’s exactly the way Nelson and RAH volunteers wanted it to be.

RAH is a United Way of Utah County Partner Agency that currently serves more than 1,000 handicapped individuals. BYU students interested in participating may contact the Y-Serve office in the Wilkinson Student Center.

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