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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

North Texas Wheelchair Basketball Conference

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Basketball, Children & Youth, Health, Health Care, Sports, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Our mission is to offer a competitive and recreational atmosphere in which children with disabilities can have a happier and healthier lifestyle. The Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavericks use basketball to develop sportsmanship, social competence, and the self-confidence necessary for children and teens with physical challenges to be dynamic members of their community.

Results: The Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavericks is one of the largest wheelchair basketball programs in the Nation and is run by an all volunteer staff. The teams have received the following honors/achievements 2012 The Ed Owen Coach of the Year Award - 2012 Coach JT Dr. Robert Szyman Leadership Award - 2012 Coach Michelle 2011 National Wheelchair Basketball Championship Tournament - JNIT Division 2011 Champions National Wheelchair Basketball Championship Tournament - Prep Division 2011 - Champions The Courage Center Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership - 2011 Coach Michelle Coach The Courage Center Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership - 2011 Coach JT 2010 National Wheelchair Basketball Championship Tournament - JNIT Division 2010 Champions

Target demographics: The disabled youth population of North Texas will be positively impacted by this program. The organizational focal point is Kids; Kids - who have and are overcoming life challenges. Kids - who just need a support group to encourage, assist and problem-solve with them the unique challenges of growing up with a disability. Kids - who by the nature of their disability and cognitive strengths are unique and live somewhat isolated until a child with similar challenges is identified. Kids - who due to their disability and economic situation need opportunities to rise above their circumstances.

Geographic areas served: North Texas, Dallas, Forth Worth, Texas

Programs: The Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavericks offers 4 teams; with both recreational and competitive levels of play. To be eligible for play for the Dallas Jr Wheelchair Mavs, a player must have an irreversible lower extremity disability, such as paralysis, amputation, limb shortening, partial to full joint alkalosis or joint replacement, which consistently interferes with functional mobility

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Anita E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is has been a wheelchair user since the age of 3. Not until the age of 7 when he joined The Dallas Jr Wheelchair Mavericks did he began to push himself in his wheelchair. First Season he started pushing himself. Second Season in practice he was able to push half court. Now into the Third Season he is able to push full court. The social interaction with other people like him has helped him tremendously. From the coaches who volunteer their time,all the parent involvement,Board of Director, and friendships with teammates all has contributed to a great organization. Thank you!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I work in rehab and wheechair basketball is a GREAT activity for strenthening and endurance to assist with daily activities. It is also a good activity for socialization and support with other children in wheelchairs.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a pediatric occupational therapist and wheelchair basketball is a great way to facilitate the development of eye hand coordination, ocular tracking, upper extremity strenth, social interaction and the child's self-esteem.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son is entering his 3rd season with the Dallas Jr Mavs. He was diagnosed at the age of 8 with Charcot- Marie -Tooth Disorder (CMT), a inhereited peripheral neuropathy. I began to see his weekening and inablity to keep up with his peers, and in his case the severity of his condition was that he started walking on the side of his left foot and it took lots of excertion on his part to walk. After surgery he now walks more comfortably, but with the constant support of braces on both legs. Being a part of the Dallas Wheelchair Mavs has allowed him to participate in a team sport along with exercising and staying active which I believe has delayed his CMT from becoming more severe. I smile when I think that these teens are the exceptions to wanting to sleep in on Saturday mornings, I know my son looks forward to getting up and practicing with his teammates. I cannot express enough how grateful our family is to all the coaches and parents who volunteer their time to keep this organization running, donating hours and hours of unpaid service. This year my son is a Senior and should be graduating in the top 10% of his class. Because this organization follows a no pass/no play policy it encouraged him to stay on top of his grades plus it's opened his eyes to the possibility of playing Wheelchair Basketball at the Collegiate Level. I believe my son has gained some lifelong friends and with the self confidence he now shows, he looks forward to continuing his education.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After my son suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 6, life as we knew it changed. We thought the days of competitive sports would be gone. But after joining the Dallas Jr. Wheelchair Mavericks at the age of 9, we soon discovered that he was still an athlete but he just had to participate in a different way. He soon changed from a shy child who didn't even think he liked basketball to a strong, athletic and confident young man who is looking forward to continuing competitive sports in college and even further in life. This organization has truly changed our lives. It is not only been absolutely my son's love in life but it's also been a tremendous support system for me as his parent. I would absolutely recommend this organization to others. It has truly been a blessing!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization provides critical recreation and sportive opportunities for youth with physical disabilities. These children do not have access to physical education and other youth sports as their able bodied peers do, which makes this organization so important for not only physical fitness, but also the development of social skills such as learning to work with a team, exploring leadership roles and self motivation. Wheelchair basketball has been an integral component of my son, Tyler's development. He participated for 10 years in junior wheelchair basketball, which provided him with the skill set to receive a competitive athletic scholarship, earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas Arlington. He has since earned a MS in Exercise Science and is employed in the UTA University College Advising Center, where he has recruited co-workers to join him in the employee wellness program, as he actively continues his personal pursuit for health, physical fitness and wellness. The "life lessons" he learned while playing in wheelchair basketball have enabled him to maximize his potential in many ways. He now "gives back" to the disabled community, volunteering with the UTA Movin' Mavs and serving as assistant coach for the US Army Wounded Warrior wheelchair basketball and track/field teams.

Steve50

Board Member

Rating: 5

When your child is confined to a wheelchair, nothing brings more joy than to see them active and fully engaged in something they love and look forward to doing. Since joining the program over 9 years ago, the Jr Mavs have been the center of our daughter's universe. She has made friends with kids facing similar life challenges. She has benefited from the friendship and leadership of volunteer coaches who are dedicated to helping kids experience all that wheelchair basketball has to offer. These are adults who can share how they overcame difficulties of life in a wheelchair, some of whom are world class athletes, representing the USA in the Paralympics. It has kept our daughter physically active and challenged. She has traveled across the country and made friends with kids from Seattle to Denver to Chicago. The Dallas Jr Wheelchair Mavs have helped our daughter in ways that far exceeded our expectations. Also, there is a place in the program for children with greatly differing disabilities, from barely able to push a wheelchair to highly competitive kids with strong upper bodies. They all help and support each other. This is a truly great nonprofit!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Randy Smith, Sales Manager for Lift-Aids, Inc. - Our company has sponsored the Jr. Mavs for the past 2 years and have found the organization extemely dedicated to the kids and families. I have personally worked with all members, have participated in the tournaments and can't say enough of each of their individual efforts in making the Jr. Mavs a first class organizations for kids. They invite all who can participate, they make sure all kids are active and having fun. I am proud to be a part of the Jr. Mavs.

1 Jerry Jt T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the varsity coach of the Dallas Jr. Mavs. The program has been a life changing experience. I was hurt at a very young age and wasn't offered many opportunities. This program offers many opportunities such as teamwork, build self-esteem, making new friends, academic opportunities, as well as the overall physical activity and well-being. Im very proud to say that Im a part of a program that offers many opportunities to the young disabled community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a pediatric therapist and just want to take a moment and let you guys know how much these kids benefit from wheelchair basketball. These kids are developing so much more than basketball skills. They are developing coordination, strength, problem solving and learning teamwork. These kids have gone thru so much yet they have so much to give back to. I love this team and the spirit of the kids who play this sport.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization. These kids really inspire me to not make excuses for my troubles. They are so friendly and wll mannered.

Leticia W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter is a twin with cerebral palsy and spend most of her time in a wheelchair. Her sister is an able body. She has always loved sports, but could not play until she learned about wheelchair basketball. It has been a life saver for me. I didn't know how protective I was of her until she joined the team. These past few years she has grown into her own. I've grown as a parent as well. I didn't think that I could ever let her out of my sight, now because of the DJWM's she is thinking of moving out of state for college. I appreciate all that the coach's have done for us and couldn't imagine our lives with out wheelchair basketball.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a blessing to have this organization in my family's life! My son, Hollis, was born without legs in 1994. His very rare disability is called Proximal Focal Fomilia Deficiency (PFFD). As he grew, like all young kids, he wanted to play sports and be active and involved with other kids. We had quite a challenge finding something that he could participate in and enjoy. From the very first practice he went to as an elementary aged kid with the Dallas Jr. Wheelchair Mavericks, we were hooked! He loved the program and coaches! We have now been with them throughout many of his school years. Hollis is a senior in high school this year and is the "Big Man" on the team with a wingspan of 6'6"! As he looks toward college and what the future holds, we embrace the possibility of a full scholarship to college for him to play adult wheelchair basketball. What an amazing opportunity that would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of everyone in this organization. ALL of the coaches and board members are 100% volunteers! Every dollar given goes directly to support the kids and the goals of this wonderful nonprofit organization. My heart is full when I think of all the wonderful people that pour themselves into this group and the impact it has on every kid involved. And even though my son will graduate this coming spring, I am confident my relationship with them will continue.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love this team!! My son is part of the prep team, and he enjoys all the activities associated with the team; from practice to tournaments. We are very blessed to have so much support from all the team members, and coaches. I can definitely say that for some of the kiddos it has become more than just a basketball team; it is a place where they have created long lasting friendships, and unforgettable memories. They learn patience, understanding, and acceptance. They are free from any bias, and are encouraged to reach their maximum potential. I have been a witness to all this, and I hope that i continue to be a part of a program that enhances the lives of all team members.

Review from Guidestar

Shannon27

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daugher is 16 years old and has Spina Bifida. She has always been a very active child and loves social play. As she moved into 3rd and 4th grade, her social world started to become smaller and smaller. Yes, she had friends at school; however the conversations were different than when she was with other kids with similiar differences. Her peers with disabiliites knew and understood a life her typical developing peers would never understand. She did not fit in the world of those with cognative impairments and was struggling to find full participation in those without walking differences. The Dallas Jr Mavericks was our answers. She plays for the fun of being with and talking to a group of kids just like her. They are stiving to just be kids and the team is a place in which is can be 100% open with others just like her. She has meet and is texting freinds with kids all over the USA. She is not going to play in college, she does not play every game, she plays to be a part of a group. As a parnet I love the education emphasis. Her personal team goal this year is to make the AB honor roll. Her skill goal, to be able to make a free throw. This organization has helped her be a happier person who strives to achieve goals. I am a board member so this great organization will be here for others for years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son has been a member of the Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavericks for the past 8 years. It has been in incredibly positive experience for my son and our family. My son has always enjoyed sports but because of his disability (spina bifida), he has been limited as to what he can participate in. When he was 11, he joined the team and immediately took to the sport. He graduated from high school this year (2012) and will attend the University of Illinois in the fall to play wheelchair basketball at the collegiate level. His education will be fully funded.
The Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks Program gave him the skills and confidence to succeed on the basketball court, but more importantly, it gave him the ability to approach his life with confidence. The coaches and volunteers do an excellent job of motivating the athletes regardless of their skill level or disability. Everyone feels that they are part of the team. Everyone encourages one another. Most of the volunteers have disabilities themselves. They are great role models for the kids to see that they can succeed in life and be successful adults regardless of the challenges they face.
Teams have the opportunity to compete with other regional teams in Texas and Oklahoma. If they qualify, they also get the opportunity to go to the National Championships and compete with teams from across the nation. It is very inspiring to watch what these kids can accomplish. As with anything, there are expenses involved with playing on the team locally and also with traveling to compete with other teams. Many of the families do not have the means to support such expenses. Supporting this organization will help make it possible for more of the athletes to have the full experience of wheelchair basketball including traveling to compete with other teams. When the teams travel, it gives the athletes a chance to be noticed by college coaches and recruiters…giving them the opportunity to receive a college education while playing wheelchair basketball.
We appreciate this organization and what it stands for. It has changed my sons life.

Review from Guidestar

3 Dana N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the mother of a girl with Spina Bifida, as well as two other girls and two boys. Children are a great blessing and it is a splendid thing to watch them grow and learn and dream. We live in a rural community south of the Dallas area. Unfortunately, we found that there were not many opportunities for our daughter, Sarah, to play competitively with other children her age anywhere near our hometown. I did not realize at the time how important such a thing is. Sarah began to spend lot of time alone. She became very withdrawn, began to gain weight, her grades dropped, her self-esteem was not anywhere near what it was as a young child, and she was generally unhappy. This was very distressing and I began to research groups that would allow my handicapped daughter to experience the joy of competition with other children. Moreover, I wanted her to be challenged, and get her heart rate up, and push herself, and see that she was quite capable of playing like any other child; losing and winning, growing, and dreaming.
We became a part of the Dallas Jr. Wheelchair Mavs when Sarah was in 5th grade. It is one of the greatest things that we have ever been involved with. In fact, we drive nearly 2 and a half hours one-way each week to practice. Sarah wakes up at 4:30 am each Saturday so that she can go, and she is happy to do so because it is a highlight of her week. She has become a smiling, healthy child through her participation on this team of peers through challenges and encouragement and learning. She now dreams of college and has a better perspective on life in general. She is no longer this child who sits on the sidelines of life. She is a player and part of the game, and this is a wonderful blessing indeed.
This organization is run by parents just like me. We arent rich monetarily, but rich in experience and appreciation for children and every single obstacle conquered and the help we have along the way. It is not easy for us to come up with funds to pay for so much travel. Most every week, there is some child on the team who is in the hospital for surgery or illness. Though we don't often talk about it, all of us have financial struggles. A child with special needs requires many special things. So, thank you. Thank you so much for reading this review, for considering donating to a cause such as this, and for caring to learn more about such an awesome organization as the Dallas Junior Wheelchair Mavs. It has changed my daughter's life. Our whole family is very, very grateful for this team.
Sincerely, Dana Neal

Review from Guidestar