Through its Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collectives, St. John’s University basketball players are collaborating with the Wheelchair Basketball Program at the historic Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center to promote inclusion in basketball, mentor youth with disabilities and, in the process, foster greater disability awareness.
“Viscardi is thrilled to partner with St. John’s Basketball and its related collectives to advance adaptive sports and disability awareness. As a lifelong Johnnies fan, I have a deep appreciation for the way in which Viscardi’s collaboration with the iconic St. John’s Basketball Program raises the profile of Viscardi’s innovative inclusive basketball model, and of the talents and passion of Henry Viscardi School student-athletes,” said Dr. Chris Rosa, President & CEO, The Viscardi Center.
St. John’s Athletics is focused on developing leaders, scholars and champions in the spirit of the University’s Catholic and Vincentian tradition. Through this new partnership with The Viscardi Center, the St. John’s men’s basketball program in conjunction with Storm Marketing and Flat Top Collective will provide community support with its student-athletes to uphold its commitment to helping others.
Over the course of the season, St. John’s basketball players will partner with HVS students to conduct wheelchair basketball clinics, participate in mentoring opportunities, and will use their stature and notoriety to raise disability awareness.
“Our commitment to the community and to service is a priority for our collectives and a priority for St. John’s University. We are thrilled to partner with such a prestigious school and play a small role in helping the incredible people at The Viscardi Center,” said Matt Abdelmassih, General Manager, St. John’s Basketball. “Our goal in this new NIL era is to use our platform to make a positive impact on our community, which always seems to give us so much. Our excitement for this is inspired by our feelings to be a part of The Viscardi Center’s mission.”
Located in Albertson, Long Island, the Henry Viscardi School (HVS) provides a fully enriched academic program, a variety of therapies, assistive technology, and medical supports to 170 students who, because of their significant physical disabilities and underlying medical conditions, might otherwise need to receive instruction in their homes or at a hospital. Beyond a traditional academic education, the Henry Viscardi School offers innovative co-curricular and pre-vocational programs to help students develop the life skills necessary for success in college, a career, and adulthood. Viscardi’s inclusive Wheelchair Basketball Program is a highly successful model for engaging students with disabilities in sports and allowing them to develop their potential. Established 25 years ago, the program allows children of all levels of physical disabilities to play together as a team and to reach their fullest potential as athletes. Wheelchair basketball is a paralympic sport and the program gives children a chance to participate in sports like their non-disabled peers. They have fun, learn to respect individual needs, and practice good sportsmanship and teamwork. Viscardi Wheelchair Basketball encourages individuality, heightens self-esteem, and provides a safe environment for each member of the team, while encouraging academic performance.
About The Viscardi Center
The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profit organizations based in Albertson, NY, provides a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities. Its programs and services include Pre-K through High School education (to age 21), school-to-work transition services, vocational training and job placement, digital accessibility services, entrepreneurship, veteran employment and workforce diversification assistance for children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. It was founded in 1952 by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. who himself wore prosthetic legs, served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and became one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities.