Basketball Buddies scores for kids of all abilities 
Photos: Courtesy Basketball Buddies
From left, Daniella Gorny, Jacob Wernick, Dalia Lampert and Henry Dela Cruz at the inaugural Basketball Buddies event Sept. 10, 2023.


In 10th grade, Akiba Yavneh Academy students Dalia Lampert and Daniella Gorny discovered their shared passion for volunteering with children with special needs. They  began volunteering with Friendship Circle of Dallas, a non-profit under Chabad of Dallas auspices, dedicated to providing support for families, children and teens with special needs. During their junior year, they realized they wanted to start a new organization in collaboration with Friendship Circle. Their goal was to establish an inclusive sports program that would provide a space for all children, regardless of their abilities, to come together and participate in an activity they all love. The pair, now AYA seniors, met  with the administration from Akiba Yavneh Academy and Leah Dubrawsky, director of Friendship Circle. The collaboration was formed and news of Basketball Buddies has spread across the Dallas area. 

The Basketball Buddies launch took place Sept.10.  With more than 50 children and volunteers, uniting for a fun-filled day on the courts, it exceeded all expectations. Children and volunteers from Akiba Yavneh and other local private schools took on the role of mentors, guiding and encouraging their new friends with unwavering support. “It was a heartwarming experience to witness children of all abilities coming together and sharing their love for sports.” said Lampert. Gorny added, “Everyone throughout the court was cheering and celebrating each other’s achievements. It was touching to see how naturally friendships were formed.” 

Gorny and Lampert explained that lessons were learned that regardless of an individual’s abilities, everyone has their own strengths. “These interactions were a testament to the power of inclusivity, breaking barriers and fostering genuine connections,” they said.

Lampert and Gorny are determined to create an environment where every child, regardless of their abilities, will feel empowered. They plan to continue this as a monthly tradition and continue to unite our community. “Through Basketball Buddies, we witnessed firsthand the power of inclusion, creating connections with one another and impacting the lives of everyone participating.” said Gorny.

Lampert added, “our first outing  was an opportunity to witness the potential that lies within every individual when given the opportunity to shine.”

For more information on further events or to volunteer, please contact: or 

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