SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs) - Morristown
Special Needs Athletic Programs (SNAP, Inc.) is a non-profit organization created to inspire youth to work together through athletics, peer mentoring activities, and educational programs. SNAP's goals are to ultimately raise awareness about the impact students can make in the lives of children with autism and other disabilities. Over the years it became apparent to families with special needs children and autism that the traditional methods of inclusion have not met the needs of these children, and it was with this in mind that our organization was founded. The focus of SNAP is to incorporate a "children teaching children" model into all aspects of our programming and create a culture of acceptance of all children. SNAP began six years ago by two brothers as a series of athletic clinics designed to integrate special needs children into public recreational leagues. In our clinics, the children not only learned how to play sports, but gained confidence, self esteem, and formed strong and lasting bonds in a non-competitive atmosphere. Building on the success of this program, we created a training module for young people that teach ways to interact with exceptional children with the final outcome of forming long-term mentor relationships. Through a structure of workshops, which include hands-on activities, the potential mentor learns what it is like to have a disability and also comes away with a better understanding about various disabilities. The ultimate goal is the inclusion of children with special needs into the schools, communities and our recreation activities.