Acts of Kindness: Trish Leavitt - 8 News NOW

Acts of Kindness: Trish Leavitt

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LAS VEGAS - The connection between Trish Leavitt and Dean Lombardo is apparent. Lombardo is autistic and doesn't speak. That doesn't stop Leavitt from connecting with him.

The two met and established an immediate bond when Dean's mother Diane Lombardo enrolled him in Challenger Little League.

"About five years ago, I asked Diane, ‘Does Dean talk?' She's like, ‘No, he doesn't.' I swear I've been talking to him all these years," Leavitt said.

Challenger Little League is a modified game of baseball that is played with a softball. The game allows kids in wheelchairs or with other disabilities to participate.

"Dean immediately made eye contact with Trish, which is rare," Diane said.

"I think the world is for everybody. The more we put into our kids that do have disabilities, the more we get out," Leavitt said.

Leavitt is the proud mother of a son with a disability and a board member with Nevada PEP. She goes the extra mile, attending Challenger Little League games and cheerleading all the athletes.

Decked out in a variety of hats, she has her own special way of encouraging each of the players, including Dean.

"I got him to go around the bases. We dance. I wear the silly hats that the kids love in all different colors," Leavitt said.

"It was a thing of beauty to watch. We took pictures of it. We are incredibly impressed by how she connected with him," Diane said.

That encouragement was life changing. It created positive vibes in the Lombardo family dynamic and gave Dean a sense of belonging.

"I don't think we that would have had courage to continue to keep coming back and try early on when he wasn't participating, if it wasn't for Trish," Diane said.

8 News NOW is rewarding Trish Leavitt for her efforts, awarding her $800 as part of its weekly series Acts of Kindness.

If you wish to nominate someone for Acts of Kindness, visit our website or e-mail us.

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