Number of Participants: 20
Hours Donated: 150
Value of Time Served: $25,350
Event Type: Other
School: Elwood/John Glenn High School
Date: March 30, 2023
John Glenn High School
Elwood Road, Elwood
My name is Joey Mammolito, I am a sophomore at Elwood John H. Glenn High School. I am the starting point guard for the Varsity Basketball team. I have had the privilege to volunteer for the Unified Basketball program that was recently brought into the Elwood School district by our administration during the 2021-2022 school year. Unified Sports promote social inclusion by bringing people together with and without disabilities. Coach Charly Rogener leads the Unified team in addition to being our varsity basketball coach, a Tech teacher and a certified Special Education teacher. Mr. Kilkenny, our school psychologist, is the assistant coach. When the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t think twice about joining Coach Rogener and Mr. Kilkenny to help teach and mentor students with disabilities.
Through this program, I was able to make connections with students that I typically didn’t get to interact with throughout my day. I was able to build new relationships and even worked with one of the students over the summer in their driveway. We are about to enter our second year of this program and I cannot be more excited to be on the court with everyone again.
I was thrilled to see our school recently implement the Unified Bowling program, in addition to the Unified middle school intramural program, which I had the opportunity to volunteer for. Outside of the Unified program, I also volunteer and help teach basketball to K-2 children at the Harley Avenue Elementary School. I am fortunate to live in a school district that embraces an inclusive environment which opens up opportunities for all.
My Unified program experience has sparked my interest to advocate for more opportunities for all students, of all abilities to come together at a much younger age. If we set the foundation earlier, we can have even stronger ties to one another as we move through our school years. I wish I had these opportunities presented to me in my elementary and middle school years. Everyone could benefit from these experiences.
I recently created the proposal that I shared in my photos to advocate for more inclusive opportunities. As a result of my proposal, I am currently working with the administration and social workers throughout the entire district to expand the Unified program district wide. We are also scheduled to discuss how we can bring the Best Buddies program down to the elementary and middle school level. For those that don’t know, the Best Buddies program is a club where students meet and engage in many different activities throughout the year. This club is for individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am currently getting volunteers to walk with me in the upcoming Long Island Best Buddies walk on May 13th.
Our plan is to implement as many of these programs as we can, starting this fall. This grant would help us meet all of our goals. My next step is to advocate for Section XI and NYSPHSAA to expand Unified Sports into the fall and early winter, as well as bringing those sports down to the middle school level. I hope that my project will bring more awareness to other school communities in New York, the United States, and around the world. If Elwood leads by example, I am certain that others will follow.