12-year-old student with autism named Athens Parks and Rec's Announcer of the Year
Decatur Daily - 5/21/2019
May 21-- May 21--ATHENS -- Twelve-year-old Brooks Givens was invited to be an announcer at the April 15 baseball games for 11- and 12-year-olds at Athens Sportsplex and he was so popular, he returned in that role every week since then.
On Monday night, in the sixth and final week of the season, Givens, who has autism, was to be presented the Parks and Recreation's Announcer of the Year Award.
The surprise announcement of Brooks' award was made Monday morning during physical education class at Givens' school, Athens Intermediate, to the applause of his classmates.
Another special touch came in a recorded message from Chip Caray, broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves, Brooks' favorite baseball team. Caray called Brooks' award "a great accomplishment."
"I'm sure it's the first of many that'll come your way," Caray said.
All the attention made him blush, the fifth grader, admitted after the program.
"I feel really good," Brooks said, later slipping into a mock play-by-play.
"He's done a wonderful job," said Chad Vining, recreation supervisor with Athens Parks and Recreation. "He's been a big hit."
Stacey Givens, Brooks' mother, said she asked last year if Brooks could sit in the announcer's booth because of his fascination with the statistics of the game.
When she ran into Vining earlier this year, he invited Brooks to be an announcer.
"He's been there ever since," Givens said.
At first, Brooks announced the batters and "now he does some play by play," she said.
"He loves baseball but he doesn't play," she said, and being an announcer gives him a way to connect with the players.
"It gives him a chance to participate in the game he loves," said his father, Kevin Givens.
Caray said in his message to Brooks that he got his start as a public address announcer.
"I'm so happy you're finding your voice and your passion behind the microphone," Caray said. "It's a lot of fun to do.
"Hopefully someday maybe you'll step behind the mic and do the Braves games."
Asked if he wanted to be a professional announcer, Brooks said, "I haven't made up my mind yet."
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