BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams. In the process, some strong friendships are formed and many life lessons are learned.
The non-profit Team IMPACT in Quincy was started just 8 years ago by a group of friends. Most are Tufts University alumni.
Team IMPACT CEO Seth Rosenzweig says, “So the concept was born, what if we worked with kids who are living with serious and chronic illness who are really struggling socially and emotionally, and we drafted them as full-fledged members on a college athletic teams, really kind of a part of games, team dinners, practices.”
For two years the children are non-playing team members. The interaction creates a sense of belonging, helps them build self-esteem, and is meant to improve the child's overall quality of life.
It’s such a success, the program has now gone national.
“Now we’re in 48 states. I mean, we’ve worked with almost 1800 children, 50,000 college athletes and almost 630 colleges and universities, Rosenzweig noted. He says their goal is to one day soon have a child on every college athletic team in the U.S.
It’s a win-win. Not only does a child benefit, the athletes learn valuable, life lessons too.
Framingham State's girls’ softball team has drafted a Team IMPACT child. Head softball coach Larry Miller says it's a perfect match.
“My job here is to prepare our student athletes for life after college and help them be the best people that they can be while they're here. And I think this gives an outlet for us to have them grow as people in a different light,” Miller outlined.
“I think it just kind of makes us appreciate how lucky we are,” stated Camille Desrochers, an FSU softball player.
Camille Desrochers is a softball player on the team. She says working with a Team IMPACT child has helped her see things a little differently.
“We're lucky enough to be able to walk onto the field every day and play and compete. Not everybody has those opportunities. I think for us it just really shows us how appreciative we are of that opportunity,” concluded Desrochers.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Shari Small Reports