The JCC of the Greater Five Towns’ “Play Golf” program was created specifically to address the unique needs of youths and young adults with disabilities. Launched in Fall 2012 at the Lawrence Yacht and Golf Club, the program gives these children an opportunity to learn how to play the game of golf side-by-side with typical golfers/volunteers.

The program was created by David Weingarten, assistant executive director of the JCC of the Greater Five Towns, who himself is the parent of a son with special needs, and funded by Sports for Youth, an initiative of UJA-Federation of New York.

While there are many community programs on Long Island for typical children, there are barriers to the inclusion and participation of children and young adults with disabilities. Thus, those with special needs miss out on vital growth and socialization benefits that sports provide. The JCC of the Greater Five Towns is hoping to change the community’s attitude with its “Play Golf” program, a tremendous success for participants, golf professional staff, family members, and volunteers.

The program was designed with four goals in mind:

1. Create a program that would be inclusive of individuals with disabilities within the general community.

2. Offer a path to socialization and fitness as the youths engage in a sporting event with other colleagues.

3. Help raise awareness within the general community of the capabilities of children with disabilities to participate in an organized sport and fit into a community.

4. Offer a form of respite for parents.

The event is scheduled for Sunday, October 20, 3:00—4:00 p.m. at the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club Driving Range in Lawrence. v

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