• Backyard Sports Cares Blog



  • Passing the Baton: Backyard Sports 2019 Inaugural Red Shirt Ceremony

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    BYSC Red Shirt Ceremony 2019

    Backyard Sports Cares started with just a few caring people and a vision in 2009 and has grown into what is now an integral part of our community. Serving over 200 children with cognitive challenges, Backyard Sports has been able to give those with limited access to sports programming a safe space to play sports, compete appropriately, build confidence and have fun. This could not be done without the support and dedication of our volunteers and young community leaders.

    With over fifty middle school and high school age peer mentors volunteering their time to work one on one with each athlete, the need for a leadership team within our volunteers emerged. Backyard Sports took the most dedicated, experienced and oldest of our volunteers and created the first class of Senior “Red Shirts.” Attaining Red Shirt status requires more than just senior standing; volunteers earn their place as leaders.

    “These young men and women showed dedication, care, and compassion to every one of our athletes and families and have been incredible role models to our younger volunteers,” said Danny Bernstein, executive director, Backyard Sports Cares.

    Red Shirt QualitiesOn Saturday, June 8th, 2019, Backyard Sports honored its first graduating class of Red Shirts as they passed the leadership baton to this year’s incoming senior leaders. Departing seniors presented their successors with their first red shirt. To commemorate the event, both current and incoming senior leaders were asked to inscribe a red shirt with words that convey what it means to be a Backyard Sports Cares Red Shirt. Moving words, including kindness, rewarding, leadership, connections, patience, responsibility, and heart , were among the adjectives used by volunteers.

    Before being presented with their first red shirt, the soon-to-be senior leaders were invited to compete against their graduating predecessors in a friendly game of Gaga at SUNY Purchase. Post-ceremony festivities brought together our special needs athletes and families and included admission to the “Boundless” ropes course and a BBQ dinner.

    As Backyard Sports continues to grow within the community, which we are fortunate enough to serve, we would like to once again congratulate the 2019 inaugural class of Red Shirts, as well as the upcoming 2020 class of Red Shirts! To all of our senior leaders moving on to college and the next phase in life, we wish you all the best and want you know – Once a Red Shirt, Always a Red Shirt

     

     

    BYSC executive director announces Next Generation Campaign to lead organization into the future

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    Categories Teen Mentors, afterschool programs, fundraisingTags , ,

      LISTEN to our podcast interview with Danny Bernstein, executive director, BYSC When Backyard Sports Cares launched in 2009, we knew we were doing something special. There was a void for many parents in the Westchester Community who were seeking either affordable sports programming for their typical child or programs that were accommodating to their … Continue reading “BYSC executive director announces Next Generation Campaign to lead organization into the future”

    Gannett Grant Fever Simmers as BYSC Earns Finalist Standing for $25K award

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    Categories afterschool programs, inclusive sports, Soccer, basketball, under-served communities

    Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) has earned finalist status to potentially win Gannett Media’s A Community Thrives grant. To qualify as a grant finalist, BYSC had to raise $3,000 via a Crowdrise Campaign. The organization has exceeded that goal by raising more than $4,000 in three weeks — four days in advance of the campaign cutoff. … Continue reading “Gannett Grant Fever Simmers as BYSC Earns Finalist Standing for $25K award”

    Timeout: BYSC brings a social dimension to PLUS Program for special needs athletes

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    Categories Community Social for Special NeedsTags ,

    In February, Backyard Sports Cares kicked off a new mission to expand socialization opportunities for teens and young adults who take part in the organization’s Sunday PLUS program for special needs athletes.  “Backyard Sports Cares is hoping to create a positive social relationship that goes beyond the court and playing field for children who grew … Continue reading “Timeout: BYSC brings a social dimension to PLUS Program for special needs athletes”

    BYSC Peer Mentor Shares Her Experience Volunteering with Special Needs Athletes

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    Categories Teen Mentors, Red Shirts, volunteer teen mentors, special needs sportsTags , , ,

    Emily Lattman is a senior at Scarsdale High School. When she’s not studying and hanging out with friends, she’s giving back to the community by volunteering her time as a peer mentor for Backyard Sports Cares PLUS program for special needs children. We caught up with Emily after last Sunday’s sports program and she talked … Continue reading “BYSC Peer Mentor Shares Her Experience Volunteering with Special Needs Athletes”

    BYSC Timeout: Sports for visually impaired kids and teens

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    Categories Teen Mentors, visually impaired

    When people hear sports for special needs kids, many think of kids with cognitive or developmental disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. The notion of sports for a blind or visually impaired child seldom comes to mind. In fact, according to the American Foundation for the Blind, nearly 70 percent of visually impaired … Continue reading “BYSC Timeout: Sports for visually impaired kids and teens”

    Brothers find connection through BYSC Program for Special Needs Athletes

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    Categories Red Shirts, volunteer teen mentors, special needs sports, Soccer, basketball

    James Fitzpatrick, former BYSC teen mentor and “Red Shirt” alum, comes back to visit PLUS program athletes, including his brother Kyle. We chatted with James Fitzpatrick this past weekend when he came to pick up brother, Kyle, from our Sunday program for special needs athletes. Now a Geometry and Spanish teacher at Iona Prep, James … Continue reading “Brothers find connection through BYSC Program for Special Needs Athletes”

    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”