On Thursday, May 21, Maplewood Lacrosse Club Team 2020 spent an hour at the Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey Horizon High School in Livingston, teaching students at the school how to play lacrosse.
As with many service projects, the volunteers were getting as much as out of the visit as their hosts.
The 7th grade lacrosse players were all smiles, cheers and laughs as they engaged with their enthusiastic and fun-loving new friends from Horizon High School. While the players taught the students lacrosse moves, the Horizon students were teaching Maplewood lacrosse players some new celebration moves. They were also teaching them how great it feels to give a little bit of your time for a good cause.
“It’s so beneficial,” said CPNJ Coordinator of Volunteers Corry DeMarco. “Our kids don’t get much peer interaction,” she noted, explaining that a number of the students are non-verbal. Often, said DeMarco, volunteers feel that they didn’t do anything special, but “any social interaction is beneficial.”
Maplewood Lacrosse Team 2020 is led by Coach Joe Gillette and Assistant Coaches Steve O’Mara, Art Hoffman, John Weeda, Will Simmons and Mike Charvala. The service project was organized by team parent Howie Teitelbaum. Before the event, Teitelbaum had cautioned the boys to leave their cell phones in the car and be engaged in their volunteer work. Ultimately, there was no need to be concerned about the boys’ seriousness.
The players, Teitelbaum wrote, “did an outstanding job representing MLC and their families. Everyone was involved from the start and stayed focused and involved throughout. The boys really did a fantastic job and the kids had a blast.”
Some of the lacrosse players are already planning to come back to play video games with their new friends.
DeMarco noted that volunteer opportunities are available year-round for groups and individuals from age three on up. She explained that, besides the high school, CPNJ provides early childhood intervention, preschool, an elementary school, group homes, an adult center and more services throughout northern New Jersey.
To find out more about volunteering with CPNJ, contact Corry DeMarco at email@example.com.
Photos by Shana Teitelbaum. Click on any image below to see a slideshow of photos from the visit.