VESTAL (WBNG) – The Binghamton University basketball team got some new teammates Wednesday afternoon.
The local special needs organization Createable teamed up with the school to give kids with special needs a chance to shoot some hoops and make new friends.
“They are incredibly excited . They love being here. This is one of our favorite events every year,” said Leigh Allen, the executive director of Creatable.
Allen says the “Summer Hoops” programs is one of the most anticipated fitness events they have all year.
“It is really important that the kids that we work with get an opportunity to use their bodies and to be active because a lot of times they hear too much ‘no’ or people who tell them how they can’t do things and we are the world of ‘can,'” said Allen.
The program is not only fitness and fun based, but it gives those living the special needs the chance to socialize and help their confidence grow.
“They can feel like they know the players. It makes them want to come to games. They feel like ‘oh that’s my friend and he helped me play basketball and sometimes I can beat them cause I score.’ They always feel like they come out of here winners,” said Allen.
Jeane Ball from Windsor says her 10-year-old son Gavin has been coming to this basketball event for the past couple of years and that her son always has a great time.
“He has autism and it’s very hard for him to focus but he’s doing very well here staying on the court. He enjoys making baskets and he really likes when the guys cheer him on. He gets all excited,” said Ball. “He doesn’t get to do a lot of school sports so having this available. It’s really great that he can do this.”
Organizers say teamwork with the BU players is creating lasting friendships.
“The players really invest the time in the relationships with them and helping them to grow and they make it seem so natural,” said Allen.
Createable says they are starting registration for their hockey program on August 1.
For more information, call (607) 729-5059.