Giving Back

Newmark School Hosts Basketball Academy for Special Needs Children on Saturday, March 8

February 25, 2014 at 7:00 PM

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Newmark School in Scotch Plains, a private, non-profit school serving children living with autism spectrum disorders, attention issues, and other developmental disabilities, will host the Wolves Basketball Academy on Saturday, March 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

A trained and experienced staff led by Jeff Mayerson will run drills and games for special needs children ages 8 to 15 in a safe, controlled environment. 

“Our goal is provide children a chance to place to play basketball with a smile on their faces and improve their skills,” said Mayerson, a Scotch Plains resident who has coached basketball at the JCC for the past 12 years. “I noticed that kids with special needs do not have a basketball program they can feel a part of, so I contacted Cynthia Allman of The Newmark School to see if they had a basketball program that I could help coach.”

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A former high school player for Livingston High School, Mayerson is driven by his belief that too many coaches only care about winning and forget about developing players and keeping it fun for all the kids. 

After watching his oldest son, Brett, shadow for a special needs child at the JCC last year, he decided to set up a program for kids that would enable them and their parents to walk out of the gym with smiles on their faces. 

“For whatever reason, coaching basketball has always been personally rewarding,” Mayerson said.  “Youth sports is broken.  It's all about competitiveness and wins.  We ignore the below average athlete and dismiss them too quickly.  Even if you are not a great player, you can learn to do something very well.”

Mayerson says his goals are to make playing time equal and to create a warm environment. 

“There is a need for this type of thing.  All towns offer rec basketball programs, but if your kid is on the spectrum or has attention issues, there aren't many programs available.  Most volunteer coaches don’t know how to relate to special needs players,” said Mayerson, who is spending time with the Newmark phys ed teacher to see how they handle situations at the school. 

The fee for the clinic is $10 per player and covers basic costs.  Registration required by Friday, February 28.

“To me, it's not only about being a star but the pride of being part of a team,” adds Mayerson, who hopes to start a high school age spring league at the Newmark School.  “We will teach them about basketball, teamwork, and having a good time.” 

For further information, contact:

Newmark Education

1000 Cellar Avenue

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

(908) 753-0330

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