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

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”

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”

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”

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!”

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”

Backyard Sports+ Special Needs Athletes Play GaGa at SUNY Purchase

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sportsTags

This past weekend our Backyard Sports Plus Special Need athletes and coaches were treated to an indoor session of GaGa at Purchase College.  The GaGa pits were provided courtesy of Scott Blumberg and Talon Athletics, a local GaGa activity provider and manufacturer of GaGa specialty equipment. The players received progressive skill instruction, including striking a … Continue reading “Backyard Sports+ Special Needs Athletes Play GaGa at SUNY Purchase”

Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Sports Programming to New England

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sports

  This fall, Backyard Sports Cares launched its first soccer program for kids with Special Needs in Weston, CT. In collaboration with the Weston, CT, Parks & Recreation Department, the program has gotten off to a great start with enthusiastic volunteers from Weston High School helping to teach young athletes soccer skills, while having lots … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Sports Programming to New England”

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!”

BYS Named Family Favorite Again by Westchester Family Magazine

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Categories special needs sportsTags ,

For a second consecutive year, Westchester Family Magazine names Backyard Sports among the publication’s Top 5 Family Favorites for “Special Needs Recreation Programs.” As part of its annual Family Favorites Awards, Westchester Family Magazine surveys thousands of parents to find out who their (and their children’s) favorite service providers are across 47 categories. “We are … Continue reading “BYS Named Family Favorite Again by Westchester Family Magazine”

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!”

Backyard Sports Celebrates 1st Family BBQ Open House

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Categories Backyard Sports Cares, Volunteers, BYSC Cares, special needs sports, under-served communitiesTags ,

On September 27th, Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) played coach and host to more than 35 families at the organization’s first BBQ “Open House”. Hosted at the Saxon Woods Golf Course in Scarsdale, NY, the event served to educate Westchester families about volunteer and funding opportunities available through BYSC.  And, more importantly, about 100 moms, dads and … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Celebrates 1st Family BBQ Open House”