Basketball Buddies a Slam Dunk!
by Nigel Chiwaya
Feb 05, 2009 | 6971 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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On Thursday, January 29, kids from across the borough of Queens in Little Neck for the final session of CAP Connects Basketball Buddies. The 12-session program, held at the Samuel Field YMCA, pairs autistic children with teen community leaders in basketball and social skills and drills.

“The program gives everyone the chance to feel part of an inclusive community,” Said Gerrie Mayerhoff, the Co-Director of Special Services.

Now in its third year, and with no advertising, Basketball Buddies has seen an explosion in popularity among kids and parents in Queens. The program opened with four children in its first year and doubled to eight in the second year.

But in the third year the number of kids enrolled jumped to 30, and there is a waiting list.

“Try to cap it, but we always hear stories about families that want to attend,” said Carina Atteritano, Director of Cap Connects.

At the conclusion of the session, the children, teens, and parents all gathered for a pizza party and trophy presentation.

Basketball buddies is made possible through a joint partnership between the 1-in-150 City Council Autism Initiative and a grant by the UJA-Federation of New York. The program was so successful that CAP Connects will be holding a similar “Soccer Stars” program in the spring.

For more information on Basketball Buddies, visit
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