New "Breaking Boundaries" Programs Combine Sports and Socialization for Children with Special Needs
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 • 1:56am
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Breaking Boundaries, a progressive program that offers children and young adults with special needs safe recreational activities and trips with a focus on the core values of socialization, education and independence, held its inaugural “Fit With Friends” Soccer Sports session on Friday, March 21 at Sports Universe.
A brand new program, “Fit with Friends” is designed to meet the diverse needs of children with special needs ages 8-12 and 13-16. It offers participants the experience to participate in many different sports activities as well as to make new friends.
“What an amazing evening and a great turnout for our first event, said Program Co-Owner/Director Chris Purdue. “We had 11 children ages 8-15 attend our event.”
The evening began with a group soccer juggle warm-up, which was led by Livingston Physical Education Teacher Brandee Adams. Next, the children worked together to elevate their heart rates and hone their movement skills related to soccer by sprinting, side sliding and back pedaling.
After warm-ups, the children were spilt into two groups so that older participants could scrimmage and play, while younger participants received small group instruction with dribble, kicking and defensive practice.
To close the evening, both groups came together, along with all of the counselors and student mentors to play a mass team dribble tag game, “which was so much fun,” said Purdue. “One of our student mentors, Harrison Eisen, brought the group together for closing words about the skills we worked on, working together and spending the evening with good friends.”
Next, all participants received a Fit With Friends t-shirt and a Breaking Boundaries drawstring bag.
“After the soccer activities were over, we sat together with our participants, staff, volunteers and parents and ate delicious wraps and salad provided by Hot Bagels and More in Cedar Grove,” added Program Co-Owner/Director Seth Blender.
“Parents returned to pick-up extremely happy but exhausted children,” added Blender. “Everyone was buzzing about the evening and really looking forward to next week’s class.”
Since the event, one parent, M. Carter has said, "Jasmine had a blast and continues to talk about how much fun she had. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
ABOUT BREAKING BOUNDARIES
The “Fit With Friends” session runs for six sessions through May 9. All sessions are two hours long from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Breaking Boundaries also offers a program called, “Friday Night Out,” which is for young adults ages 16-21. The program provides a new opportunity for socializing with peers and establishing relationships. The goal of this program is to learn appropriate behaviors, meet new people and maintain relationships for a true teen Friday night out “hangout experience.” These social events may also be attended by mentors, chaperones and other friends as well.
Additionally, Breaking Boundaries provides a travel program where participants “break through boundaries,” which are often faced when attempting to relate to peers. Past trips have included: South Mountain Reservation, World Trade Center Museum, MetLife Stadium, Lifetime Fitness, Skyline Manor and Pyramid Park. The travel program is facilitated by teachers, mentors and professionals.
Breaking Boundaries is run by Co-Owners Chris Purdue and Seth Blender. Both have backgrounds in education and camp environments.
Purdue is currently a health and physical education teacher for the Livingston Public Schools, as well as the Co-Owner and Co-Director of New Horizons Day Camp in West Orange. He has a Masters in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Blender is a special education teacher for the Glen Ridge Public Schools and is the Co-owner and Co-Director of New Horizons Day Camp in West Orange. He received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Mary Grove College.