A High School North teacher full time, Kane is also the father of Gavin, who experienced a traumatic brain injury at a young age and who inspired his father to create the Field of Dreams, which debuted in 2022 after years of relentless work and fundraising. Aligning the district with Unified Sports was the next step in Kane’s vision for an inclusive utopia, particularly when it comes to play.
“Team sports bring people together,” reads the Special Olympics’ website. “Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. About 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way.”
Count Toms River Regional Schools students among those 1.4 million. And this latest venture in genuine inclusivity through team sports has been, appropriately, a team effort.
High School East teacher and coach Danielle Foran has played a critical role, hosting Unified Sports practices every Friday since March. She is also personally training HSE’s squad for its kickball game May 16, as well as another matchup versus Brick May 30. The school’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Colleen O’Donnell has partnered with Dr. Alex Stribing from Kean University to run a sports training program at the complex since March 23 that ran through April.
“This has been an all-hands-on-deck initiative,” said Superintendent Mike Citta, “from our administrative support, to Christian’s work obviously, to the many meetings among many dedicated teachers and coaches, to community partnerships and parental support. And it’s all in the interest of making sure every student, of every ability, has the same opportunity to compete.
“That’s a truly beautiful thing.”