News From Masters

Masters Hosts 35th Junior Games for Kids with Special Needs
Posted 03/09/2017 11:00AM

Nearly seven dozen local children and their families enjoyed a fun-filled 35th Annual Junior Games on Saturday, March 4 at the Strayer Hall gymnasium.

“We had 80 Junior Games participants and their families here to enjoy a day of fun, skill-building and socialization,” says Amy Atlee, Director of Community Service. “Thank you to the 220 student volunteers who made the day magical once again. Special thanks to our chairs: Nina Samko, Phil Minton, Derick Lee and June Kitahara; as well as committee heads and one-to-one buddies – you all were amazing!”  

The South East Consortium, which provides programs and services to individuals with disabilities and special needs, co-hosted the event, which drew children ages 3 to 10 from throughout Westchester County. The young participants included faculty and staff members’ children and families from Cabrini Immigrant Services. 

The program included a lunch for the families in the dining hall, followed by a Parade of Athletes and an opening ceremony in the Strayer Hall gym. Upper School students paired up with each child, leading them through the game stations – including an obstacle course, a bean bag toss, and a slide into a “sea of balls” – and joining them in other activities during the event. The program ended with an awards ceremony. 

Masters students, who spent weeks getting ready for the event, organized the equipment for the games, oversaw the game stations, and served as one-to-one “buddies.” Other students pitched in the evening before to set up the stations, while several students participated in the annual Junior Games design contest for the T-shirts worn by the children and volunteers. Senior Haley Casper created the winning design this year.

 “The Junior Games event is a great example of service learning – everyone learning from each other,” Ms. Atlee says. “It’s also a chance for our students to have face-to-face time with special needs kids and gain a deeper understanding of how to care for each other. It helps us all learn about the power of purpose, empathy, compassion and the gift of service.”

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