Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation Sponsors Basketball Tournament For Disabled Children for Third Straight Year

Abilities LogoGarden City, NY; January 7, 2009 – Continuing to honor its mission of funding programs for children with physical disabilities, the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation sponsored the annual basketball tournament at the Henry Viscardi School (HVS) at Abilities! in Albertson, NY, on Saturday, December 6, 2008. Nearly 300 students, parents, and faculty members packed the gym at the special education school for this exciting eight-hour event.

Participating in the tournament were 70 disabled athletes ranging in age from 8 to 21. Their disabilities included cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, and muscular dystrophy. In order to level the playing field, all players were required to shoot from wheelchairs, regardless of their disability.

The athletes participating in the sports event came from three schools HVS, which teaches severely disabled children in grades kindergarten through 12, United Cerebral Palsy from Westchester, and the SILO Shooting Stars from the Coram, NY-based Suffolk Independent Living Organization, which is a not-for-profit disability advocacy organization. Fifty players represented HVS, while approximately 20 players represented the other two schools.

The funds from the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation paid for T-shirts, trophies, and referees. They also paid for an appearance by inspirational paralympian, Jeff Glasbrenner, the world champion wheelchair basketball and triathlon athlete.

Patrice Kuntzler, Executive Director of HVS, said that Glasbrenner’s presence at the event was inspiring, explaining that his talk illustrated the benefits of hard work and the opportunities that determination and effort can provide. She also commented on the athlete’s demonstration of 1-on-3 basketball. “It was amazing,” she said.

According to Kuntzler, the basketball tournament is extremely important to the students at HVS. “It gives our athletes the opportunity to show their families and friends how well they play basketball,” she said, adding that it also gives each student the chance to “shine and be a star.” Kuntzler said that the annual tournament demonstrates to others that having a disability doesn’t interfere with the ability to learn to play a sport and compete. It also provides students with the opportunity to work on skills such as leadership, teamwork and goal setting.

Attending the all-day event was HGA–Quest President and Foundation co-founder Dan Gerstman and his wife, Pam, along with Quest Service Group President and Foundation co-Founder Brad Gerstman, his wife, Cheryl, and their children.

HGA-Quest employees and Foundation volunteers were also on hand to distribute information about the Foundation’s partnering camps. Quest Vice President Peter Monte, Quest Sales Director Mike Shey and his wife, Barbara, HGA–Quest Accounts Payable Clerk Toni DiRusso, and Harvey Gerstman Associates Assistant Sales Manager Roberta Greene all represented the Foundation.

This was the third time that the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation sponsored a basketball tournament at HVS. It also sponsored the December 2005 and December 2007 tournaments.

For more information about the HVS, contact Patrice Kuntzler at 516-465-1675, or visit them on the web at Abilities!.