The inspiration for Challenged Youth Sports came in 1990 from a small girl watching her brother’s Little League game from her wheelchair. Paul Hooker, president and owner of SFERRA, was president of the local Little League at the time, and when he asked her how she was doing, her response was, “This stinks.”
Her two-word answer generated a movement that became Challenged Youth Sports, a recreational sports program for children with disabilities. Hooker started with a baseball program, and the program now includes baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, flag football and tennis. Children from 20 cities and towns throughout Central New Jersey participate.
In 2000, Challenged Youth Sports received a letter from a group of fourth-graders asking for a playground that would be fully accessible for children of all abilities. This request inspired collaborative construction efforts that culminated in 2004, when New Jersey opened its first playground accessible to all children. A second playground was constructed in 2009.
Paul’s long-term dedication to this cause has enriched the lives of many children and their families.
Challenged Youth Sports believes in positive learning experiences for all children through recreational sports. It is recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The website is www.challengedyouthsports.org
SFERRA is especially proud to support our US Troops. Beginning in 2010, the company committed to help returning Vets who had experienced serious injuries in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. We identified a pressing need for these newly returning Vets living and convalescing in military transitioning facilities: personal care items such as sheets, towels, and robes. In this endeavor, we partnered with the owner of one of the best towel and robe weaving mills in the world, whose plant is located in Turkey. The owner told SFERRA’s owner, Paul Hooker, that he “...wanted to do something for the US Troops in thanks for all they have done in our part of the world.” He graciously agreed to make his woven and embroidered linens available to us at cost—we at SFERRA believe this to be a wonderful gesture made by someone living within the region of US support.
Since 2010, SFERRA has provided linens to a variety of programs dedicated to rehabilitating our wounded service men and women, beginning with the Brook Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. From September 2010 through April 2012, BAMC received 10 to 15 new patients on a rotating basis each month; during that time SFERRA provided 300 patients with a patriotically embroidered canvas bag containing a beautiful cotton robe and pair of slippers (embroidery shown below).
Continuing our involvement, on March 28, 2011 SFERRA sponsored the Women’s History Month Salute to Female Wounded Warriors event, held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The need here was identified by the Department of Social Work, as their conversations with wounded female warriors revealed a common thread: they wanted to feel “like normal women” again. SFERRA presented 160 wounded women veterans with embroidered canvas bags stuffed with a lovely cotton throw, a pair of slippers, and a cotton robe embellished with a patriotic emblem.
In September of 2011, SFERRA expanded their efforts with BAMC to provide a special set of linens to families who resided at the Fort Sam Houston base during their wounded family member’s on-going recovery. The sets were contained within an embroidered canvas duffle bag and stuffed with a Twin, Queen, or King sheet set, a bed blanket, and a set of bath towels. The duffle bag, pillowcases, and towels were each emblazoned with an embroidered patriotic logo. Each month, SFERRA donates approximately 10 sets of assorted sizes. To date, we have contributed 150 sets (example shown below).
In May of 2012, SFERRA participated in the opening of the new Wounded Warrior Transition barracks at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the donation of 300 Twin extra-long sheet sets. The sets were given to the Warriors in Transition living in the new barrack facility and consisted of 2 flat sheets and matching pillowcase stitched with US patriotic insignia. The move to the new barrack facility was dedicated in May 2012, and pictures taken by the Public Affairs Office (PAO) on that day are shown below.
Dedication ceremony held May 1, 2012 at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg with presentation of SFERRA linen bundle.
Deanna Swanier, Senior Director of Service Delivery to the Armed Forces at American Red Cross presents a linen bundle to the Warrior Transition Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel James T. Schumacher, Jr.
A company of the Warrior Transition Battalion in attendance for the dedication ceremony, May 1, 2012; there are over 450 soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion, and the facility holds 650.
At SFERRA, we celebrate life. And we do what we can to support organizations that are working to save lives. That’s why we support Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the global leader of the breast cancer movement. As the world’s largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, this organization has invested more than $1.9 billion since its inception in 1982. It’s also the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists–essentially millions working together for quality care, empowered people, well-funded research and awareness.
SFERRA contributes to several of Komen’s charitable events throughout the greater New York City area to help support their mission. We also donate a plush throw with an embroidered Komen logo to breast cancer survivors in the program... to honor and show compassion for their successful battle with the disease.
For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, visit www.komen.org.