SPARTA, NJ - Sparta Life Skills students are working with the football team.  They are volunteering their time in the snack shack, selling programs and helping as water girls during the games. 

“The idea is to try to give opportunities to all students in the building to volunteer for clubs even if they can’t play a sport or and instrument,” Sparta School Psychologist Dr. Jane Esposito said. “This is particularly imperative for the inclusion of our special needs populations.”

Esposito is a part of the School Climate Committee run by Danielle Colte, Student Assistance Coordinator. She and Courtney Hyland developed the idea into a workable project.

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The first opportunity for the student volunteers came from Football Head Coach Frank Marchiano.  Liz Broccoletti and the Football Booster Club donated t-shirts to all Life Skills students. They were distributed to the students and staff by Marchiano and the seniors on the team, prior to the Vernon game. 

“It was so awesome to see how all of the kids were excited,” Esposito said. “Our goal is to promote inclusion and tolerance and who better to start with then student athletes."

Esposito said the initiative is gaining traction.  They are identifying volunteer opportunities in other clubs and activities.  Many people at the high school are getting involved according to Esposito.  Principal Janet Ferraro is “totally supporting the program.”

Director of Special Services Danielle Hamblin is also ensuring that transition coordinator Monica Wall is working with the students to bolster their skills so they have the ability to participate in more activities all around the school, according to Esposito. 

“We can't wait to see our special needs kids being part of the game,” Esposito said.