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Inclusion Games players and friends gather for inaugural event

Megan Kinter of Lower Burrell stood confident with bag in hand.

She took a step to the left, checked for wind resistance, and tossed it into the summer sky on Saturday.

It went through an opening for the win of a cornhole game at the inaugural Alle-Kiski Inclusion Games at Lower Burrell’s Kotecki Park.

“It’s really powerful,” Kinter said of her toss. “I always beat people. It’s fun to be outside.”

About 25 players partnered with 25 volunteers or “friends” as their purple t-shirts indicated.

The games included cornhole, soccer, softball toss and relay races. The event was designed for youths who cannot play traditional sports. Most of the participants were on the autism spectrum, had muscle ailments or other issues.

Kinter, 22, has Down syndrome, but does not let it stop her from having fun, said her grandmother Martha Kinter of Lower Burrell.

The games were organized by Courtney Kobelenske, a Lower Burrell mom and co-owner of New Kensington-based Cora Lee Cupcakes with her younger sister, Kylie Lash.

Kobelenske said she wanted to provide a fun, athletic event for her daughter, Cora, 17, who will be a sophomore at Burrell and is on the autism spectrum. Cora Kobelenske also has a muscle issue that prevents her from participating in many activities.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing,” Cora Kobelenske said. “Everybody here’s been kind and funny just like my mommy. It’s hot, too. I’ve got to see my friends that I haven’t seen for a long time since the pandemic happened. It was terrible for me being inside my house doing absolutely nothing.”

Participants received medals and blue t-shirts to mark the occasion.

“I’m just happy everybody’s here,” Kobelenske said. “I know how it is to have kids that want to play sports, but they don’t get the chance. This is structured enough that the kids can have a great time. When there are kids out there running in the field, that’s what they want to do. Let them run. The kids just want to participate.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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