• Backyard Sports Cares Blog



  • Dr. Christina tells why sports are important for all kids — And role modeling is key!

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    PM Pediatrics has been a community partner to Backyard Sports Cares for a number of years. Their contribution to the welfare of children and adolescent health and wellness in Westchester is matched by their time, commitment and generosity in helping foster the sports activity programs we provide to at-risk and special needs kids.

    We talked with PM Pediatrics senior medical advisor, Dr. Christina Johns, to get her perspective on the upcoming 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament, ask why PM Pediatrics chooses to support BYSC, and get some health tips for athletes who are ready to play.

    LISTEN to our podcast with Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor, PM Pediatrics

    Q & A with Dr. Christina Johns

    Doctor Christina Johns is a senior medical advisor and also the face of PM Pediatrics, and if you haven’t heard of them, they are a national urgent care practice that specializes in the care of children and young adults. Locally, they have offices in Mamaroneck and Yonkers.

    Welcome, Christina. Not only are you a doctor and a senior advisor for PM Pediatrics, but you really are the public face of the organization. I know you do a lot of spots on Good Morning America, CNN and Discovery Health, which helps spread the word of health and wellness to the over 1.5 million kids that come in to see PM Pediatrics caregivers each year.

    Christina Johns: I am thrilled to be part of this, and absolutely, PM Pediatrics is, as well. We are the largest provider of specialized pediatric urgent care, just for children. We say that we see kids, people, from cradle through college, and we do indeed. And so that makes us have a very important role in acute care for children, because illnesses and injuries don’t always happen at convenient times and convenient places and at convenient hours. So we’re happy to be there to partner with our friends in the community, local pediatricians and families, to keep kids well.

    BYSC: We thank you for that. And speaking of partnerships, the other reason why we wanted to have you guys on is you really have been one of the key sponsors and partners in Backyard Sports Cares’ mission, which is to bring sports programming to kids who are at-risk or have special needs. So talk a little bit about how PM Pediatrics is involved with Backyard Sports and how your mission dovetails with what we do.

    CJ: So obviously, the primary interest there is children and wellness of children and taking care of kids in many different ways, and that involves their physical health. And so exercise and community and getting a chance to interact in a positive way with others is a hugely important piece of that. For our part, we do the acute care. So we see urgent care, so cuts and sprains and rashes and sore throats and breathing problems. We do all of that stuff, but on the flip side, we also think that child advocacy and taking an important role in the wellness of children and their health is key. Much of that means sliding in a tip about exercise or diet at the end of that visit for a sprained ankle.

    3x3-2018-sponsors-PM-Pediatrics

    BYSC: So, we have this 3 vs. 3 event coming up, and we need to demystify it, because there’s only so much you can tell about this story on social media. You’ve got a bunch of dads, high school kids, and young professionals. What are they doing? They’re creating teams. They’re raising money for Backyard Sports Cares. Okay, what’s all that about?

    So from your standpoint, what would you tell dads? Why do you think it’s important for guys to get a team together and participate in the three on three basketball tournament?

    CJ: Well, first of all, I love it when dads get involved with kids. It is a fantastic thing for me to watch, as a mom, and as a pediatrician, but certainly as a mom. I think it’s terrific for role modeling for young kids. I think, again, creating a sense of community and friendly competition and everything that goes with that. That means thinking about others, as well as yourself, a very important piece of child development. It means being part of a team. It means setting a good example for others, being classy on the sports court or field.

    I think that those pieces and that kind of messaging, from all parents, from all adults, but in this instance, highlighting dads, that’s a fantastic thing, and kids respond to that.

    BYSC: So before we let you go, we should talk about some block and tackle, health benefits, and all that good stuff. We all know, as parents, intuitively, that there’s value in children playing sports, but from a pediatrician’s perspective, what are the physical and mental benefits that sports provide children, adolescents, teens?

    CJ: Sure. Gosh, there are so many, and a couple of thoughts that I have right off the top of my head, obviously, deciding to maintain that active and healthy lifestyle, that starts early. And I think that for establishing that right from the get-go, for very young children, is an important thing. And maintaining that across child development and growing up, as we know that kids are spending more and more time in front of screens. And so establishing very formal, discrete times when they can turn those screens off, interact with real people, get some exercise, which we know combats obesity, has long-term health benefits, cardiovascularly and emotionally. Being able to vent out some frustrations from the school day or what have you. Those kinds of things are key in maintaining a well-balanced kid who is going to grow up strong.  And I think that alone is worth its weight in gold.

    BYSC: We thank you so much. Before we let you go, is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Anything going on, on your end?

    What I really want to say is, everybody, before you go out for your tournament, make sure you stretch. Make sure you hydrate. Make sure you’ve slept well the night before, so that you are ready to have fun, to compete to the best of your ability, and try your best and have a ball.

    What’s it like to compete at the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament — A player’s perspective

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    Categories 3 on 3Tags

    We recently caught up with a really good friend. Peter Finkelstein has been a part of the Backyard Sports Cares family for a number of years. He hails from Scarsdale and recently moved to White Plains. And as a business owner in Mount Kisco, he has a large presence in the Westchester community. We asked … Continue reading “What’s it like to compete at the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament — A player’s perspective”

    A sponsor’s perspective on why you should participate in the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament

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    Categories 3 on 3, VolunteersTags , , ,

    With one month to go before our big 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament, we wanted to help demystify the event while paying homage to some of our loyal sponsors who continue to support us and the recreation programs that we bring to disadvantaged Westchester kids and to those with special needs. One of our long-time … Continue reading “A sponsor’s perspective on why you should participate in the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament”

    Young men from Youth Shelter Program of Westchester join BYSC for a weekend at Brant Lake Camp

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    Categories At risk youth, under-served communities, summer campTags ,

    Earlier this month, Backyard Sports Cares coordinated an extended weekend to Brant Lake Camp in the Adirondacks for 12 teen residents from the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester. For many of these at-risk young men, it was their first time officially camping, and for others, it was their first foray out of an urban environment and into … Continue reading “Young men from Youth Shelter Program of Westchester join BYSC for a weekend at Brant Lake Camp”

    The guru behind the GAGA ball — And BYSC’s Mission GAGA 2018

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    Categories Volunteers, afterschool programs, GaGa programTags , , ,

    When you hear the name Talon Athletics, the sport of GaGa may not spring to mind, but it should. Based on an inspiration by Scott Blumberg and Will Perez more than five years ago, Talon Athletics has grown into the largest supplier of GaGa Pits, protective gloves, as well as the premier host of GaGa … Continue reading “The guru behind the GAGA ball — And BYSC’s Mission GAGA 2018”

    Youth Soccer Participation has Fallen Sharply — Cost of Entry Among Principle Causes

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    Categories afterschool programs, inclusive sports, Soccer, under-served communitiesTags

    This past week, the New York Times published a story about the decline in youth soccer participation in the US. According to the report, over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players. The number of children who touched a soccer … Continue reading “Youth Soccer Participation has Fallen Sharply — Cost of Entry Among Principle Causes”

    Bridging cultural differences through sport: Visiting UK coaches introduce rugby and cricket to Westchester grade schoolers

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    Categories afterschool programs, inclusive sports, special needs sportsTags

    Backyard Sports Cares “guest counselors”, Rhodrey Dafydd and Tom Finnigan of the United Kingdom, recently spent the month of May participating in our afterschool and special needs programs.  They led early morning and recess rugby and cricket programs to elementary school students in White Plains and New Rochelle. They also assisted in a physical education … Continue reading “Bridging cultural differences through sport: Visiting UK coaches introduce rugby and cricket to Westchester grade schoolers”

    100 kids celebrate victories and teamwork on final Saturday of BYSC White Plains Basketball League

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    Categories basketball, under-served communitiesTags , , , , ,

    Last January, with generous support from Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) partner, Advocate Brokerage of Scarsdale, BYSC kicked off the organization’s first basketball league in White Plains. Approximately 100 fourth and fifth-graders from five local elementary schools participated in the league, which culminated in a jamboree finale on March 23rd, 2018 at SUNY Purchase. Participating schools … Continue reading “100 kids celebrate victories and teamwork on final Saturday of BYSC White Plains Basketball League”

    #MissionGaGa takes flight at Mt. Vernon Boys & Girls Club

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    Categories afterschool programs, under-served communities, GaGa programTags ,

    As part of Backyard Sports Cares’ Mission: Gaga 2018 initiative, BYSC, in conjunction with host families, will be donating a portable gaga pit to the Boys and Girls Club so they can enjoy the game all year-round. To get the kids formally introduced to gaga action, Backyard Sports Cares hosted a Gaga Day on Thursday, January … Continue reading “#MissionGaGa takes flight at Mt. Vernon Boys & Girls Club”

    BYSC Joins Foundation for Life for Annual Surprise “Bike Day” Giveaway

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    Categories under-served communitiesTags , ,

    Bike Day gives gift of first bicycle to dozens of Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club kids  Beaming faces and squeals of joy and amazement could be seen and heard from across lower Westchester County last Saturday, June 9th. It’s no wonder when dozens of children from the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club received brand … Continue reading “BYSC Joins Foundation for Life for Annual Surprise “Bike Day” Giveaway”

    Discussing racial diversity: BYSC student leaders, Iona Prep students and White Plains Youth Bureau talk about race relations

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    Categories under-served communitiesTags

    “This was a great experience and it felt great knowing that I was doing something to help make a change.  I really got a lot out of it, and can’t wait for the next dinner.” — Jake Meyrowitz, BYSC Student Leader On January 22, 2018,  Backyard Sports Cares and the White Plains Youth Bureau initiated … Continue reading “Discussing racial diversity: BYSC student leaders, Iona Prep students and White Plains Youth Bureau talk about race relations”

    Productive Discussion: BYSC brings local at-risk youths together with role models from the Westchester Knicks

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    Categories afterschool programs, basketball, At risk youth, under-served communitiesTags

    How do you get at-risk youths in crisis to open up and take some hard-won advice? If you’re Backyard Sports Cares, the answer is pizza…and a few local heroes from the Westchester Knicks! This past week, Danny Bernstein, executive director, Backyard Sports Cares, decided to add a unique dimension to the recreational programming that the … Continue reading “Productive Discussion: BYSC brings local at-risk youths together with role models from the Westchester Knicks”