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

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Teens from BYSC PLUS program for special needs attend Westchester Knicks game.

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 up with BYSC,” said Danny Bernstein, executive director, Backyard Sports Cares. “As children with disabilities enter their teen years and into young adulthood, there are fewer social options and programs for them to connect with one another. BYSC is taking its strong peer bonds, established through sports, out to the community.”

kyle in carBackyard Sports Cares hosted its first community social at the Westchester County Center, where teens enjoyed a Westchester Knicks game. In March, Pepe Auto hosted a Friday night social at Mercedes Benz of White Plains. Kids, volunteer teen mentors, and parents got to mock test drive some luxury cars and get under the hood to learn how automobiles work.

Tricia Zarro, a kindergarten teacher at Springhurst Elementary and mother to Danny Zarro, a PLUS program participant who is diagnosed with autism and epilepsy, expressed her enthusiasm for BYSC and its new monthly community social.
LISTEN to our interview with Tricia Zarro, mother to Danny Zarro, a special needs athlete in BYSC PLUS program and participant in the group’s community social events.

“I’m simply in awe — I think what is so beautiful about this program is it’s a natural progression,” said Tricia Zarro. “We have these foundational skills that Backyard Sports has taught and then as the children get older, we put it in the context of a team and any team sport has a social dynamic. So now that they are learning this give and take with peers and playing a sport, supporting each other through a sport, we are moving on to how we can be social outside.”

“For Danny Bernstein, Coach Vin and Backyard Sports to offer this opportunity for social engagement with kids from their teams is just a naturally comfortable fit. My son got to go to his first Westchester Knicks game; he participated in the Pepe Auto teen social a couple of weeks ago, and our calendar is marked for the Bowlmor Lanes event on April 5th. We couldn’t be happier that Danny now has social engagements on the calendar just like his siblings,” adds Zarro.

Danny with Pepe GM and Danny Zarro
From left: Danny Bernstein, BYSC, Danny Zarro, John Silva, GM, Mercedes-Benz of White Plains

“It was a pleasure to host Pepe Teen Night in our dealership,” said John Silva, General Manager, Mercedes-Benz of White Plains. “It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and this event really made us feel that. I’d like to thank everyone who joined us to make this a truly great night for everyone involved. Mercedes-Benz of White Plains looks forward to continuing our community involvement this year and we hope we can put some more smiles on the kids’ faces.”

Our next Community Social will take place on Friday, April 5th at Blowmor Lanes in White Plains. Looking forward to seeing everyone again!