In the heat of summer, baseball is a special and favorite pastime for many: the crack of the bat, the thrill of a home run, the rivalry of fans. But this summer, one young man’s dream of throwing the first pitch during the Dayton Dragon’s game came to fruition with the generosity of a Dayton area law firm, Casper & Casper.
During a Casper & Casper sponsored family fun entertainment day at the Dayton Dragons on August 17, 2014, Sam Rubens, a 23 year-old Centerville graduate, was privileged to pitch the first ball during the Dayton Dragon v. West Michigan game. But, Rubens is not just any graduate of Centerville. He is a special young man who struggles with a condition that is becoming well known in many young children of this generation: Autism.
“He was very excited to have the opportunity to throw out the first pitch. He practiced with all of us at home, including neighbors and friends,” Rubens’ mother, Stacey Soifer said. “Although we focused on Sam being able to get the pitch to the catcher, Sam’s focus was on meeting all the people that were a part of the Dragon’s entertainment and then socializing with all of his family, friends and the attorneys and staff at Casper & Casper who came to cheer him on.”
Wearing his specialized jersey that was provided by Casper & Casper, Rubens was successful in getting the first pitched ball across home plate. Cheers erupted throughout the stadium, leaving Rubens sporting a wide smile and glowing with pride by not only himself, but his parents, family, the Casper & Casper family and the Dragon’s team.
“I was so flattered that Sandy and Steve Casper and Barb Strady asked Sam to throw out the first pitch. I think they all knew how excited Sam would be to take part in this activity,” Soifer said. “It was amazing for all of us to see how family, friends and Casper & Casper employees supported Sam’s first pitch. I love the way that Casper & Casper supports and takes part in the community.”
At 16 months, Ruben was diagnosed with developmental delays, which now considered a form of Autism. He also had GI issues and suffered a detached retina, which was reattached but with limited vision in his right eye. Even with the challenges Rubens faces on a daily basis, he is far from having difficulties with socialization. Beaming with pride and greeting everyone that came to cheer him on, one couldn’t help but catch his positive vibe of energy and happiness.
“Sam would never describe his life as a struggle,” his mother said. “Instead, he wakes up every day in a good mood and views each day as a new opportunity to socialize with old and new friends.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department, about 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2014. It is also five times more common for boys to be diagnosed with the disease than girls. ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges throughout the child’s life. It is known as the “fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.” according to Autism Speaks.
Sam Rubens graduated in from Centerville High School in 2013. Even though he attended special classes, with the help of some amazing aides and teachers, he was able to participate in theatre, dance and cooking classes. Today, Rubens attends Echoing U in Dayton. Echoing U offers a 4-year program specially designed for young adults with different challenges to help develop life, vocational, recreational and socialization skills. Rubens also works part-time at Dorothy Lane Market at Washington Square in maintenance and is responsible for keeping the Café in good running order. He loves music, participates in the Special Olympics bowling and track. He loves going to the library, movies, walks, cars and shooting hoops.
Casper & Casper came to know Sam Rubens during a summer internship where he was an office helper for about three years in the Dayton location. With the help of his school aide, Sue Kelzer, Rubens was able to work in the office two days a week. His job consisted of filing, copying, shredding documents, creating new folder packets and even filing documents with the Social Security Administration office. By having the opportunity of the internship, it enabled him to get first-hand experience working in an office setting and interacting with employees, attorneys and clients.
“The lawyers and staff at Casper & Casper genuinely care about making certain that each and every client gets the best representation possible,” Soifer continued. “Everyone is a caring, helpful and tenacious advocate.”
For more information regarding upcoming events hosted by Casper & Casper or for any personal injury, social security or Workers’ Compensation questions, contact any of its Dayton area locations [Dayton, Middletown, Hamilton, Cincinnati] at (513) 424-1347.