• Backyard Sports Cares Blog



  • Learning to play basketball also teaches sharing and teamwork among teens with special needs

    Posted on

    Consuelo Engel shares her and her son James’ experience as a participant in Backyard Sports Cares PLUS program for teen athletes with special abilities. For more than two years, 18-year-old James has been building his skills on the court while connecting with teammates and volunteer peer mentors. The teen program is an off-shoot of BYSC original PLUS program for kids ages 5 to 14. Catering to adolescents and young adults 15+, the teen program offers a more competitive team option for older special needs players.

    consuelo and James engel

    “The coaches have great skills. They are inspiring and they hold the kids’ attention so they stay on task. Matching players with other teen volunteers is really beneficial. James loves playing with the “regular” kids and the program has really increased his understanding of teamwork, sharing, and thinking outside of himself.”

    — Consuelo Engel

    LISTEN to our interview with Consuelo Engel

    Every Kid Deserves a Bike!

    Posted on
    Categories under-served communitiesTags , , ,

    Backyard Sports Cares celebrates its 5th year of participation in Barnum Foundation for Life‘s annual Bike Day. Dozens of youngsters from the Youth Community Outreach Program (Y-COP) of Mt. Vernon were identified by BYSC to receive a brand new bicycle. For many, it was their first bike. The event took place on Sunday, June 23rd … Continue reading “Every Kid Deserves a Bike!”

    Passing the Baton: Backyard Sports 2019 Inaugural Red Shirt Ceremony

    Posted on
    Categories Teen Mentors, Red Shirts, volunteer teen mentors

    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, … Continue reading “Passing the Baton: Backyard Sports 2019 Inaugural Red Shirt Ceremony”

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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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

    Posted on
    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”