• Backyard Sports Cares Blog



  • Teens from Youth Shelter of Westchester Build Confidence Through Swim Program at SUNY Purchase

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    Brian Hansbury, director of SUNY Purchase’s Aquatics Program, spoke to Backyard Sports Cares about the school’s community swimming program, as well as his experience working with BYSC to offer swimming lessons to troubled teens from the Youth Shelter of Westchester.

    WATCH our interview with Brian Hansbury, director, SUNY Purchase Aquatics Program

    BYSC: Tell us a little bit about what you do here? Why were you so eager to get involved with Backyard Sports Cares and help out some of these deserving young men?

    Brian Hansbury: I’m the Aquatics Director for SUNY Purchase College Athletics, as well as the Head Coach for men’s and women’s swimming. I heard about the Backyard Sports Cares program involving the Youth Shelter of Westchester, and when Danny asked me if I was interested in helping them out with a swim program, I said, you know what? Lets go. Lets get in and lets get these guys going. I felt I got more out of the first session than they did. They were enthusiastic and engaged. It’s a good feeling. They got a lot out of it, too. It’s really good to see them walk out of here feeling accomplished.

    BYSC: This is our second time doing a six week session of swimming with teen residents from the Youth Shelter. The Youth Shelter Program of Westchester is an alternative to incarceration program for young men here in the county. It offers them a second chance at life and a big part of what we do involves getting them out of their comfort zone, whether that’s swimming, yoga or even camping, these new activities are a big part of how they learn and grow. Can you speak to that a little bit?

    Brian Hansbury: The nice part about this program here today is, I get to see a familiar face from last year. This young man joined the program last year mid-session and he wasn’t the happiest one in the pool — definitely out of his comfort zone. But today I watched this young man with his shoulders back, his head up high, smiling, and he walked right up to me and said, “Brian, how are you?” I felt connected. There’s a connection. I see it. I said to him, you look accomplished. You’re happier, you’re better in your skin. You are the man you should be. He said, “You know, I really do feel that way.” That to me is better than anything in the world. To see this young man who has evolved, bettered himself and to see him out there today helping the other swimmers was truly gratifying.

    That young man is going to go on to better things. I know he is. He’s improved through the program, which exposed him to new ways of living life and he’s taking this second chance seriously. This is a challenge for some of them. But it’s a challenge that will enable them to walk out of here feeling accomplished.

    BYSC: Tell us a little bit about the opportunities here at SUNY Purchase for swimming and some of the different aquatics programs that you offer kids and adults. 

    Brian Hansbury: SUNY Purchase offers American Red Cross based lessons for youths, as well as adults. Usually, groups are about four to five kids with an instructor. We typically have a secondary instructor, a swim aid in the water with them. There’s always a lot of coverage. There is support and it’s a feel-good program. Parents are welcome on the deck with siblings. A lot of times parents will have one kid in one class, and they get the other one changed and they’ll drop that child in the other class. The weekends are packed. It’s been great. We have a long history of great success with the program.

    The best way to reach out to us is to call 914-251-5938 or email me at john.hansbury@purchase.edu. Either I or my assistant, Lorena Peraulto, will be happy to help. We’re very excited about our swim program here, and we’re excited about building it into something beyond basic swimming lessons. We are looking to add pre-competitive swimming, an adult program and we’re dabbling with a Master’s program, so stay tuned.

    For more information, click here.

    NY Knicks Youth Engagement Manager Talks About Empowering Kids Through Sports

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    Categories basketballTags ,

    Our Give Thanks Series continues with Kiki Campbell, manager of Youth Engagement and Fan Development for the New York Knicks. Kiki helps run a program called Junior Knicks, the New York Knicks youth basketball department. We asked her to share her experience in this role, her relationship with Backyard Sports Cares, and about the impact that … Continue reading “NY Knicks Youth Engagement Manager Talks About Empowering Kids Through Sports”

    Special needs peer mentor shares why he’s been a BYSC teen volunteer for 3 years

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    Categories special needs sportsTags , , ,

    It’s funny how the universe — and moms — seem to surface just what we need before we know we need it. Backyard Sports Cares volunteer peer mentor, Alec Greenwald, talks to us about his surprising experience working with special needs children and teens participating in BYSC Plus Program. WATCH our interview with BYSC teen … Continue reading “Special needs peer mentor shares why he’s been a BYSC teen volunteer for 3 years”

    How Charles DeFrancesco’s Special Needs Son Inspired Him to Launch Fit 4 Fun

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    Categories inclusive sports, special needs sportsTags , ,

    Charles DeFrancesco Aims to Forge a Fitness Path for All Abilities Backyard Sports Cares caught up with Charles DeFrancesco, a certified personal trainer and owner of the Arena,  a personal training facility located in White Plains. Charles recently launched a new program called Fit 4 Fun to provide kids with special needs a place to go … Continue reading “How Charles DeFrancesco’s Special Needs Son Inspired Him to Launch Fit 4 Fun”

    Good Sports removes barriers for kids who want to play

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    Categories At risk youth, under-served communitiesTags ,

    Since we are now officially in the month of giving thanks, we thought we’d take this opportunity to cast the spotlight on some amazing organizations that are really trying to move the needle when it comes to raising healthy and happy kids. Our first subject is Melissa Rundlett, partnership coordinator at Good Sports, a national … Continue reading “Good Sports removes barriers for kids who want to play”

    Dwight (Doc) Gooden Cheers on 150+ High School Students and Adults as they Compete to Raise $80K in Support of Backyard Sports Cares Programs for At-risk and Special Needs Kids of Westchester County 

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    Categories 3 on 3

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lisa Kaslyn Prosper Communications lisa@prospercomm.com   Legendary NY Mets Pitcher, Dwight (Doc) Gooden, Cheers on Players – Shares Experience, Strength and Hope with Attendees and Teens from the Youth Shelter of Westchester Funds Raised will Continue to Support BYSC’ Vital Community Sports Programs Serving 3,000 Kids from the Youth Shelter of … Continue reading “Dwight (Doc) Gooden Cheers on 150+ High School Students and Adults as they Compete to Raise $80K in Support of Backyard Sports Cares Programs for At-risk and Special Needs Kids of Westchester County “

    Dedicated sponsors, donors, 150+ players, and Doc Gooden make BYSC 2018 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament a success

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    Categories 3 on 3

    Tournament raises $80,000 to support valued sports activity programs in Westchester benefitting thousands of at-risk and special needs kids Visit our Facebook Page to access our 3 vs. 3 event album and view images of the event, courtesy of Meagan Dwyer Sports Photography — And don’t forget to “like” us! “I am deeply grateful and … Continue reading “Dedicated sponsors, donors, 150+ players, and Doc Gooden make BYSC 2018 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament a success”

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

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    Categories 3 on 3, special needs sports, At risk youth, under-served communities, fundraisingTags ,

    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 … Continue reading “Dr. Christina tells why sports are important for all kids — And role modeling is key!”

    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”