Good luck charms

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

Long Valley volunteer Ricky DeFrance with Matheny resident Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

Bowled over

Misty Hockenbury celebrates her gold medal win.

Matheny athletes brought home four gold medals and three silver medals from the Somerset County Special Olympics bowling tournament held Saturday, January 17, at Strike ’N Spare Lanes in Green Brook. The gold medal winners were: Jessica Evans, Misty Hockenbury, Lee Lubin and Yasin Reddick. Silver medals were won by Mike Cornely, Chris Saglimbene and Cindy Shanks.

The Somerset County Special Olympics provides year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with disabilities. Participation in Special Olympics is an important part of Matheny’s recreation therapy program, which provides a range of recreation choices to improve physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being.

Green Wave rolls in

The Delbarton basketball team and Matheny staff members. In front, from left, Matheny students Shane Szott, Jamil Jones and James Wild.

The Delbarton Green Wave basketball team came to Matheny on December 22 for its annual visit, which included a variety of basketball contests, to the delight of Matheny students and patients. This is an event eagerly anticipated every year, and the 2014 edition did not disappoint.

The Delbarton players took part in several skill competitions with Matheny staff members and helped students and patients compete in adapted versions of the sport. They also tossed Delbarton T-shirts into the seats, arena-style.

Sports are a major activity at Matheny. Students and adults participate in a variety of adapted sports, compete in Special Olympics and often attend high school, college and professional games. The Delbarton School is an independent Roman Catholic learning center in Morristown, NJ, for young men in grades 7–12.

Trying out adaptive equipment

Peapack-Gladstone resident Donna Brooten learns about an alternate positioning device from Matheny School director of curriculum Jim Hintenach.

Although virtually all Matheny students and patients are in wheelchairs, they can often benefit from spending time in adaptive tricycles, standers and other alternate positioning devices developed by our physical therapists.

At a recent meeting of Matheny’s Community Advisory Committee, some local residents had an opportunity to try out some of this equipment and learn about its benefits. They also heard about Matheny’s adaptive physical education program which enables Matheny students and patients to play adapted versions of traditional sports such as basketball and soccer.

Judy Silacci, a resident of Peapack-Gladstone, tries out a stander and learns about it from Matheny director of physical therapy Cindy LaBar.

On target

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.”

A real gym!

Matheny student Daeon Troutman enjoys the FHCDS climbing wall.

Matheny’s recent proposal for expansion and renovation, which did not receive approval by the Peapack-Gladstone Land Use Board, had included plans for a therapeutic gymnasium as well as an indoor therapeutic swimming pool. So, when the Far Hills Country Day School offered the use of its gymnasium for a group of Matheny students, it was welcomed enthusiastically.

Matheny students and staff members had previously visited FHCDS to demonstrate various adapted sports activities to a group of fourth graders, and FHCDS students regularly volunteer at Matheny. During the recent gym session, Matheny students were able to participate in sports activities difficult to experience in Matheny’s current recreation room.

Good sports

Being disabled doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t play sports. Matheny students can use a variety of specialized equipment, such as adaptive tricycles and power wheelchairs, to participate in such sports as soccer and track and field.

This fall, youngsters who attended Bedminster Township’s Fun Fest 2011 got a chance to experience first-hand what that’s like. At the top, Anna Rabinovich, left, and Lisa Mashkovich of Bedminster try out an adaptive tricycle. Below, Billy Mandarino of Bedminster gives a power wheelchair a spin.