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Glen Rock Parents Honor Late Daughter With Special Needs Basketball Clinic

Cliff and Teri Kirsch organized a five-week basketball clinic for local kids with special needs, led by Glen Rock High School student volunteers. Photo Credit: Teri Kirsch
The students learned basic skills like dribbling and shooting, and built self-confidence in the process, Kirsch said. Photo Credit: Teri Kirsch
The program was sponsored by the Julia Kirsch Foundation, launched in 2011 by Teri and Cliff honoring their late daughter. Photo Credit: Teri Kirsch
Glen Rock's Julia Kirsch. Photo Credit: Teri Kirsch

GLEN ROCK, N.J. — If Julia Kirsch were alive today, her Glen Rock parents would want her to feel like she was part of something.

That's why Cliff and Teri Kirsch are honoring their daughter's memory with a program — part of the Julia Kirsch Foundation — for other children with special needs in the community.

For the past five weeks, 30 kids with varying disabilities have piled into the Clara E. Coleman Elementary School gymnasium for a basketball program run by a group of Glen Rock High School student volunteers.

"Doing something like this encourages [the children] to do even more," Teri Kirsch told Daily Voice.

"Getting them active in sports gives them self-confidence, which translates to all other aspects of their lives."

The kids, mostly ages 10 to 16, honed basic skills such as dribbling and shooting.

Abby Kirsch, 15, and Emma Kirsch, 11, have long been involved in the programs run by their parents' foundation, aimed to provide life skills for people of all ages with special needs.

Abby brought some of her friends on board to help coach the basketball program.

"The kids come to the door so excited to do it," Teri Kirsch said. "That's wonderful for me because I see joy in the kids and the growth of my own daughter when I watch her working with them."

The basketball clinic wrapped up on Saturday, but Kirsch is hoping to bring it back, along with more programs of its kind.


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