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

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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

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”

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”

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”

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”

Backyard Sports Features GaGa Event as Part of Special Needs Basketball League

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Categories Soccer, basketballTags , ,

Backyard Sports Cares Fall Basketball League for athletes with special needs has exceeded expectations this year. In conjunction with our Basketball program, we featured a GaGa special event that got our kids moving and exposed to non-traditional sports. Check out our video to take part in the action and hear from our awesome teen coaches, Audrey … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Features GaGa Event as Part of Special Needs Basketball League”

Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League Gets Going!

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sports, basketballTags ,

Thanks to our teen coaches and players for a successful start to the Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League.  Coach Vin Minotti led the group in clinical instruction followed by inclusive competitive basketball games for the squad.  We meet Sunday mornings at 10am at the main gym at Purchase College for all interested teen players and … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League Gets Going!”

Backyard Sports Cares Annual 3-on-3 Adult Basketball Tournament Raises Over $45K

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Categories 3 on 3, basketballTags

The results are in! On Saturday, April 16th, the Iona Prep gymnasium set whistles blowing, hundreds of fans cheering and basketball players competing hard in the 4th Annual BYSC 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.  We are truly grateful to everyone involved – from the players and supporters to sponsors and entertainers – who raised the bar of … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Cares Annual 3-on-3 Adult Basketball Tournament Raises Over $45K”

BYSC PLUS Programs Open with a Slam Dunk!

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Categories special needs sports, basketballTags ,

October 4th marked the opening day of Backyard Sports Cares award-winning PLUS program for athletes with special needs.  This fall, BYSC is continuing a new program set up for our growing teen population. Integrated teams comprised of nearly 20 teen boys from the Westchester County area and more than 10 volunteer high school peer mentors scrimmaged against each other … Continue reading “BYSC PLUS Programs Open with a Slam Dunk!”

BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players

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Categories inclusive sports, Soccer, football, basketballTags , , ,

Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) has launched a new Sports League for middle school and high school kids with special needs. The unique and appropriately competitive 6-week program will run through mid-June with practices and games taking place at Purchase College. In addition to soccer, the league will resume in the fall with other sports, including … Continue reading “BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players”