MORRISTOWN, NJ - SNAP, a non-profit Special Needs Athletic Program is currently seeking local mentor volunteers to work with program participants during upcoming spring events including Monday yoga classes, Wednesday sports clinics and Thursday tae kwon-do classes as well as basketball, soccer, art and swimming.
With a motto of ‘kids helping kids’ the program delivers a chance for children with special needs to participate in safe, fun, physical and social activities, while at the same time providing awareness of the impact a mentoring student can have on a child with a disability.
“Over the course of six months, I have been able to build a strong bond with numerous children at the tae kwon-do sector of SNAP,” said Joey Katz from Livingston. “Just last week, on February 19th, the children advanced to their second belt. This very accomplishment is the reason I began SNAP in the first place.”
According to the 2013 Muhammad Ali Award winner and co-founder of SNAP Zachary Certner, “Although my sports clinics provided a safe place where they [participants] could grow, gain self-esteem and friendships, these kids left our programs to a society where they were often ostracized, bullied and intimidated. I developed a vision for the future of SNAP, and under my leadership, was able to expand SNAP’s foundation in sports programming to include a peer education component as well.”
Stressing the importance of having awareness of these disabilities, SNAP makes it a requirement for each mentor to go through mentor training. This 1-2 hour class takes the applicant through activities, which simulates what it is like to have different kinds of disabilities. In addition, this class gives prospective mentors a better understanding of how to work with kids with disabilities.
In recent years, SNAP has won many prestigious awards. Some of these awards include The Muhammad Ali Award, National Caring Award, National Barron Prize and the National Jefferson Award for Public Service.
In addition to these achievements, SNAP has been able to expand its program internationally. Countries such as Guatemala and Tanzania are now involved with the SNAP program.