University of Illinois Men’s basketball team, with coach Bruce Weber, hosted the 4th Annual Alley-oop for autism, a philanthropy project by the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity in partnership with the Chabad Center for Jewish Life.
Now in its fourth year, the Alley oop supports the Stuart I Raskas Friendship Circle of Illinois and brings together children with special needs from across the state of Illinois for a day of fun and excitement they will remember for a lifetime. In addition to supporting a good cause, it is a day to directly help the children.
After the successes of the past years, current Philanthropy chair Robbie Lowe ‘13 had the idea of hosting the event with the Fighting Illini. When he approached Head coach Bruce Weber, the idea was immediately embraced, and the coach and his staff worked together to make this dream a reality.
The children had an hour-long Basketball clinic with the nationally ranked team, after which they each got a photo of the team, autographed by each player and the head coach.
After this amazing experience they had an exclusive tour of the locker room followed by a Kosher lunch at the ZBT house. The day was capped off with the families joining in the stands to watch the team play in the Orange and Blue Scrimmage.
Rabbi Zelik Moscowitz, director of FCIL said, “The children joining the basketball clinic with the Fighting Illini had an exceptional experience. It was encouraging to see the individual attention the players gave to each child, letting them excel according to their abilities.”
“Despite the challenges they have, the children work hard to put on a smile each and every day,” said Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, Executive director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at Illinois. “This is the least we can do, to give them a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.”
Tiechtel thanked the Fighting Illini as well for being “so hospitable and helpful from day one.”
“It was amazing to see the kid’s faces. I really just wanted to give the kids a day to escape from reality and be with their heroes,” said Robbie Lowe.
Plans are already beginning for the 5th annual event in the Fall of 2011.
For more information contact Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel at [email protected] or 217 840 4227.