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SNAP: Inspiring Youth to Work Together through Athletics and Fun!

Special Needs Athletic Programs (SNAP) in New Jersey is dedicated to inspiring youth to work together through athletics, peer mentoring activities, and educational programs. SNAP was awarded a Family Services Community Grant in 2010

The focus of SNAP is to incorporate a "children teaching children" model into all aspects of programming and create a culture of compassion and acceptance of all children. 

At SNAP clinics, children with special needs are matched with peer mentors, an experience that greatly benefits both the participants and the mentors. In their clinics, the children not only learn how to play sports, but gain confidence, self esteem, and form strong and lasting bonds in a non-competitive atmosphere. After school programs include soccer, golf, basketball, tae-kwon-do, yoga, tutoring, art and more! There is truly something for everyone! 

SNAP Participants Can:

  • Engage in sports and healthy physical activity in a safe and fun environment
  • Make friends and improve social skills and self-esteem
  • Provide a platform for their families to connect and support one another
  • Check out our programs!

SNAP Volunteers Can:

  • Use their power to enrich the lives of the others
  • Help spread awareness and acceptance of others
  • Organize and participate in fundraising efforts to provide additional services
  • Check out our volunteer opportunities!

SNAP Mentor Training: Promoting Inclusion and Acceptance

SNAP began six years as a series of athletic clinics designed to integrate special needs children into public recreational leagues. Building on the success of this program, SNAP created a training module for young people that teach ways to interact with exceptional children with the final outcome of forming long-term mentor relationships. Through a structure of workshops, which include hands-on activities, the potential mentor learns what it is like to have a disability and also comes away with a better understanding about various disabilities.

The ultimate goal of SNAP is the inclusion of children with special needs into the schools, communities and our recreation activities. Through its programs, SNAP also aims to ultimately raise awareness about the impact students can make in the lives of children with autism and other disabilities. Right now, the training is done in all the K-8 schools in the Morristown, NJ school district and it is SNAPs goal to expand it to neighboring towns and counties!

Learn more about SNAP clinics and trainings here!

This is the third featured after school program of the week. Check out Subway Sleuths and Autism Foundation of the Carolina's Inclusion-Based Program for more great ideas! You can also search for afterschool programs in your area by visiting the Autism Speaks Resource Guide!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.