Safelite AutoGlass Leader Empowers Special Needs Children Through Basketball Camp Experience
By Safelite // May 12, 2017
At Safelite AutoGlass®, giving back to the communities where we live and work is important to us. And we consider it to be much more than a “feel-good” experience – it’s an opportunity to make a difference and have a lasting impact on those we support. Our dedication to supporting others is a big part of our values and culture. We often refer to it as Safelite Spirit, and a big part of that spirit is showing a caring heart.
As much as we promote giving back as a company, we also encourage and support our people when they get involved in causes that are near and dear to them. For Area Sales Manager Dean B. from Wisconsin, a passion for supporting special needs children led to his partnership with Inspire Sports for a very special basketball camp.
Inspire Sports is an organization that travels throughout Wisconsin, creating fun athletic learning opportunities for special needs children. They enlist high school mentors who are willing to share their passion for athletics and make a lasting impact by developing one-on-one relationships with the children.
Inspire’s mission appealed to Dean – he and his wife were involved with Special Olympic basketball in years past, and Dean had previous experience coaching a special needs basketball team. Dean decided that partnering with Inspire and enlisting players from his daughters’ high school as mentors for a special needs basketball camp would be a great way to make a difference. “I viewed this as an opportunity to get back involved in coaching, while showing my children the importance of social responsibility,” he said.
So he teamed up with Coach Wenzel and the Fox Valley Lutheran High School Girls Basketball Team – and Lucas Jadin from Inspire Sports – to host a special needs basketball camp for approximately 30 local kids. He was excited by the team’s enthusiasm for the event – about 20 players from the varsity and junior varsity teams, including Dean’s daughters, signed up to participate as mentors. These players were then paired up with camp attendees.
At the end of the 2-hour camp, players lined up in a makeshift tunnel, and each special needs athlete was announced as they ran through to receive their medal. “It was something similar to what you see at a state high school tournament,” Dean explained. “The medals they received were sponsored by Safelite AutoGlass, and were certainly a hit with the kids.”
Camp mentors were also rewarded for their efforts. “We gave medals to the seniors of the high school team as a reminder of the difference they made on many lives that day,” Dean said. “As the leader of our basketball camp, I had a front row seat to watch the effect this experience had not only on the special needs children who attended, but on everyone involved. All in all, it was rewarding for me and my family, and also a great opportunity to share the Safelite Spirit!”
Dean also plans to hold a baseball clinic on May 13th with Inspire Sports, in partnership with the Little Chute High School Baseball Team where he serves as the coach. Safelite will be sponsoring this event as well.
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