If we can’t remember a time when Linda Banta wasn’t involved in Backyard Sports Cares, it’s because there wasn’t one! With us from the very beginning, she recalls learning about Backyard Sports while looking for a special needs program for her 8-year-old son Garrett and being impressed by our unique one-on-one peer mentoring model. When it was time to launch nonprofit BYSC, we asked her to help and she came aboard to spearhead development and outreach efforts, including the 3-on-3 basketball tournaments and relationship-building with local schools. Later, she transitioned to a volunteer role as Special Needs Director and has guided our progress every step of the way.
Our offerings matured along with Linda’s son Garrett, expanding to include not only skill development programs, but sports scrimmages and teen nights. “BYSC has been lifechanging for my son, in terms of his social and skill development,” she said. Now Garrett is almost 21, has earned his “red shirt,” and is in training as a peer mentor volunteer.
Linda is as big a believer in BYSC today as she ever was, sharing that Garrett has made lifelong friends thanks to the peer mentor model that fosters tight bonds between students… not to mention his friendships with the BYSC staff coaches. And even though Linda says Garrett has a better social life than she does, it’s created a micro-community for her, too. “I’ve become friends with the moms of Garrett’s friends. We do things like go to the park or go bowling. BYSC is the lynchpin that brought us all together.”