WEST ORANGE, NJ – The New Jersey Jr. Nets wheelchair basketball team is joining the West Orange Council of PTA’s, Mt. Pleasant 5th Grade Activities Team and Liberty Middle School to support a special “Basketball on Wheels” Exhibition on April 1.
The exhibition, held from 7-9 p.m. in the Liberty Middle School gym, is a fundraiser for the West Orange Scholarship Fund. A donation of $3 is suggested at the door. A donation has been made to the NJ Jr. Nets as well. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to make further donations to the NJ Adaptive Sports Association, as well as the West Orange Scholarship Fund, at the game.
The event includes a “friendly battle” between local teams, such as the West Orange Fire Department, and the 2016 National Wheelchair Basketball Association, Eastern Conference Varsity Champion, New Jersey Jr. Nets.
Tim Carter, West Orange Council of PTA’s President, said, “I wanted to bring this exhibition game to West Orange because I remember as child watching a wheelchair basketball event in my home town. I was amazed and inspired by what I saw.”
“I appreciated learning that many years ago, West Orange had a similar event, and I've been encouraged and felt grateful that everyone I've reached out to in our community has been very supportive towards making it happen again,” he said.
Wheelchair basketball is one of many sports in the Paralympic movement. The New Jersey Adaptive Sports Association says it sponsors the only New Jersey-organized Wheelchair Basketball team (now in its 21st season) for children and teens with physical disabilities.
The athletes are part of the East Coast League and compete in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and at the national tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.
NJASA President Kelly Albertson says the program is important to the communities it serves. “Achieving athletic excellence works wonders for the self-esteem of boys and girls with physical disabilities,” he said. “The camaraderie, sportsmanship and sense of belonging to a team enrich their entire lives.”
He explained that, “Starting so young in a league such as ours is a wonderful motivator for these children who have disabilities, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and other birth defects.”
Albertson also explained that the special sport wheelchairs required for the sport cost about $3,000 each. Local travel expenses can approach $3,000 per tournament and out-of-state trips can exceed $20,000 in costs. NJASA currently has twelve players ranging from twelve to seventeen years of age.
Carter is happy this event will take place in West Orange. “I'm very grateful to the NJ Jr. Nets for their willingness to bring their talents to our town, and to help us support the West Orange Scholarship Fund as well. For me, it's all about inclusion, respect and appreciation for everyone,” he said.
For more information on NJASA, a 501c3 non-profit organization, or to make a donation, contact them at:
The New Jersey Adaptive Sports Association, Inc. 78 Knob Hill Road, Hackettstown, NJ 07840. Facebook: New Jersey Jr. Nets.