Long Valley Middle School wrestlers with honorary captains, Shane Szott, left, and Jameir Warren-Treadwell.
A group of Matheny residents served as honorary captains at the January 22 Grade School League wrestling match between the Long Valley, NJ, Middle School and Watchung Hills Middle School. Long Valley defeated Watchung Hills, 46-42, and the impetus to win might have been indirectly provided by the visitors from Matheny.
Several members of the LV wrestling team, along with some other LVMS students, have been volunteering at Matheny as part of the “Include Me” program; and they have developed close personal friendships with Matheny residents. About 14 Long Valley Middle School students visited Matheny weekly during this past summer; and they have continued their visits during the school year, although not as frequently.
Volunteers are needed at Matheny days, evenings and weekends. Individuals or groups can serve as recreation assistants, classroom aides, tutors or just friendly visitors. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Valley volunteer Ricky DeFrance with Matheny resident Jameir Warren-Treadwell.
John McGarity tries to aim a beanbag with his feet, assisted by Cindy LaBar, Matheny director of physical therapy.
“It was a fun day. It was hard using my feet to shoot the beanbag in the target. It would have been much easier if I could have used my hands.” That was the reaction of John McGarity, a student at the Central Elementary School in Great Meadows, NJ, when he experienced what it’s like for children with disabilities to participate in a game or sport. He was one of several students at the Warren County school who played a variety of adapted sports with students from the Matheny School.
The objective of the visit was to promote interaction between the two groups of students, making it possible for them to compete in sports as peers. It seemed to work. “I enjoyed visiting with the children from the Matheny School,” McGarity said. “I would like it if they would come back for another visit.”
Every year, the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, NY, hosts its Wheelchair Games, bringing wheelchair athletes together to complete in a variety of athletic events including several races and a slalom obstacle course.
This year, four Matheny athletes competed in wheelchair races and dashes, the slalom obstacle course and the shotput. They also enjoyed carnival games and a magic show. Adult patient Shaleena Tommassini received a trophy designating her as Top Outstanding Adult Female of the day.
Participation in events such as the Burke Wheelchair Games is made possible through Matheny’s recreation therapy program, which provides our students and patients with a variety of opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being.
Matheny student Natalie Tomastyk and recreation therapist Saori Cheth.
More than 40 Matheny students, patients and group home residents competed in the Somerset County Special Olympics on May 4 at Bridgewater-Raritan High School in Bridgewater, NJ. The Matheny athletes received 40 gold medals and 28 silver medals, and Matheny will be sending eight athletes to the New Jersey State Special Olympics from June 7-9 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. They will be competing in track & field, bocce and power lifting.
Participation in Special Olympics is a key activity in Matheny’s Recreation Therapy program, which provides students and patients with a variety of recreation opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. Students and patients are encouraged to take part in several adaptive sports teams throughout the year, including track & field, adaptive karate and power wheelchair soccer.
Matheny student Kimberly Alarcon, participating in a track & field event.