Many people don?t realize it, but a little kindness goes a long way. Sophomore Jeff Joss learned that by simply sharing his passion for basketball with disabled students, has helped build a community and a team out of his experience.
Joss, a starting guard on the men?s basketball team, was an intern for Professor of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology Loisa Bennetto last semester. Being in the classroom for 10 hours per week, Joss joined Sherry Stulpin and Christine Lombach of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services in and out of the classroom.
During recreational hour, Joss would accompany the students in playing pool in Wilson Commons and shoot hoops in the Louis Alexander Palestra.
Stulpin and the students were impressed by Joss?s ability to explain the game and the recreational period slowly evolved to basketball hour. They all wanted Joss to stay involved.
?Towards the end of the semester, Sherry asked me if I would want to come back this spring once or twice a week, organizing lessons and games with the group,? Joss said.
?I was having so much fun with them so I wanted to stay with the program,? he continued.
This semester, Joss has a new partner in the basketball hour. Teammate and sophomore point-guard Tim Sweeney joined him in the BOCES program.
?Sherry thought I should get another person to coach with me and Tim was the first kid I thought of,? Joss said. ?Aside from being one of my best friends, Tim has a love for basketball that makes him a perfect coach.?
?We meet with the kids for an hour every Wednesday and work on every aspect of the game ? shooting, passing and defense,? he continued.
But Joss realizes that this is not like a typical varsity practice. ?Tim and I try to keep it fun with dribbling races and shooting contests,? he said.
Bennetto is extremely excited for the coaching duo and for the BOCES students.
?I think this is a perfect example of how this program has had a positive effect on the university community,? she said.
?It also demonstrates how our students have been creative in finding real-life and age-appropriate learning experiences for the BOCES students, as well as making great strides in promoting their acceptance on campus,? she said.
Joss is taking a step further in this independent project.
The BOCES students will finally test their skills today at noon in the Palestra. This friendly game will be between two groups of students, the morning and the afternoon BOCES classes.
There is even going to be a half-time show performed by the students.
?I am extremely excited about this basketball game because it is entirely student-driven,? Bennetto said. ?Not to mention outside the context of his internship course.?
?Every student has shown tremendous improvement,? Joss said. ?It should be really fun to watch.? The game is free and open to the public.