Basketball Buddies Scores Big

Ms. Elmore (taking a knee) with coaches and students.
Ms. Elmore (taking a knee) with coaches and students.
Coach Tom Fitzpatrick - Playing basketball should be fun.
Coach Tom Fitzpatrick - Playing basketball should be fun.
The Elmore family is all about 'giving back.'
The Elmore family is all about 'giving back.'
Mary Gross with Tyler Elmore and a basketball buddy.
Mary Gross with Tyler Elmore and a basketball buddy.
Kieran Elmore leads a practice.
Kieran Elmore leads a practice.
Coaches and their Buddies take a break.
Coaches and their Buddies take a break.
Coaches share their love of Basketball, and Buddies take it all in.
Coaches share their love of Basketball, and Buddies take it all in.
Coach 'Fitz'with some players and coaches take a break.
Coach 'Fitz'with some players and coaches take a break.
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Two things are constant in Basketball Buddies. One is the ball, and the other is the athletes and coaches who give back by sharing their love of basketball. Basketball Buddies gives children with special needs an opportunity to participate in a basketball program. And on any given evening, children of all shapes and sizes gather with wide grins as they dribble the ball, shoot baskets, and learn the fundamentals of basketball. This special needs program was started four years ago by Maplewood Intermediate School speech pathologist Ms. Denise Elmore, her husband Toby, and Maplewood physical education teacher Ms. Mary Gross.

“After hearing numerous parents express their frustration that there were not enough organized sports for their children with special needs, the program was started," said Ms. Elmore. “The program is designed to pair older Whitman athletes with a special needs athlete – thus the name Basketball Buddies.”

Over the years many of the coaches have been Whitman basketball players. Basketball Buddies has had several coaches who have been with the program since its inception, including Kieran Elmore, Tyler Elmore, and Helene Delaney. Others have jumped at the opportunity to help, including JV coach Kate Herman and varsity coach Tom Fitzpatrick.

It’s hard to tell just who’s having more fun, the coaches or our special needs children. But there is no doubt that Basketball Buddies is scoring on all fronts.