Pictured above: Joe O’Rourke, Shane Behler, Shahe Katchadurian, Matty Lee, and Will Legenzowski.
A new season is underway for the John Jay Youth Football (JJYF) league but before the uniforms were even issued the eighth-grade team took their camaraderie off the field and shared it with the patients at Blythedale Children’s Hospital.
"We wanted to show the boys how easy and important it is to volunteer their time to those who are less fortunate,” explained Nick Giardina, president of John Jay Youth Football. "We knew most of the boys had never volunteered in this capacity before, however, we had no idea it was going to be such a positive experience for everyone.” As a result, the league has decided to make this an annual volunteer program.
Each Friday from July 26 through August 16, a group of JJYF eighth-grade players met at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in the recreation room to hand out John Jay youth football t-shirts and play games. The kids at Blythedale really enjoyed playing video games, board games, coloring, and especially playing card games. After learning what the kids at Blythedale were interested in JJYF donated several video games and board games to the recreation department. It was evident to the JJYF boys that the children of Blythedale were just like them, aside from their medical conditions.
"I had lots of fun playing with the kids and making them laugh and smile. I felt like I had done a really nice thing for the children and I would totally recommend this for a friend to do because it makes everybody feel good,” shared Will Legenzowski, 8th grader at John Jay Middle School.
"Having the boys from JJYF down to Blythedale was such an enjoyable experience for our patients,” said Debbie Sicari, Director of the Early Childhood Center and Therapeutic Recreation Department. "We are looking forward to working with the JJYF League to make this an annual program.”
"We are grateful to Blythedale for allowing us to visit with the children and thankful for coach John Corelli, the eighth-grade coaching staff and the parents, for helping to make this happen,” said Giardina. "We are really looking forward to the upcoming football season and I am convinced that taking part in this volunteer program was the perfect way for the eighth-grade team to kick off their last football season with JJYF.”
The JJYF 2013 football schedules are available on www.JJYF.org.