FCU Visions Donates $1,000 to CanTeen Gaga Ball Pit – Eagle News Online

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CICERO — Teenagers who visit Cicero’s CanTeen are going gaga thanks in part to a grant from Visions Federal Credit Union. Visions donated $1,000 towards the construction of a gaga ball pit.

The rain held out just long enough on September 27 for the CanTeen team and a representative from Visions to cut the project’s ribbon – and the teens to play a game of gaga.

Gaga is a “softer, softer version of dodgeball,” according to GagaCenter.com. The game, believed to have originated in Israel and introduced to Jewish summer camps in the United States, is played with a foam ball in an octagonal pit.

“I would have loved this when I was a kid,” said Sarah Parton, Community Development Liaison at Visions. “It’s a great outlet, and the CanTeen provides great resources for teens in this field. We’re proud to support them.”

Parton said Visions gives back to local causes in the communities its branches serve. Visions recently donated $1,000 to Rise Above Poverty Syracuse for personal hygiene supplies, and the credit union also provided a $500 pantry grant at Roxboro Road Elementary School.

Since the CanTeen was forced to cancel its annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in August, the center has been dependent on funding from local governments and donations from area businesses like Visions.

CanTeen always needs volunteers to continue serving young people.

“There is a non-profit volunteer board of directors that helps organize many events and fundraisers. We are looking to recruit more members. If you have a passion to serve, encourage and walk alongside our teens, we would love to talk to you,” said CanTeen Director Amy Crowley.

CanTeen is looking for a Fundraising Coordinator to manage events such as the Banff Film Festival and Spaghetti Dinners.

At the Sept. 22 meeting of the North Syracuse Village Board of Directors, Crowley presented attendance statistics for the center. The CanTeen welcomes an average of 65 to 70 students each afternoon and welcomed 483 visitors this year. Before the pandemic, annual attendance totaled between 550 and 600 teenagers.

Two CanTeenagers shared their experiences with the administrators. One participant, Rachel, said the compassionate staff helped her sharpen her leadership and teamwork skills.

“Now, more than ever, I think the teens in the community will seriously benefit from coming there. During the pandemic, social skills have kind of broken down for many and mental health has deteriorated for many people. Rachel said, “They can actually get the support they need and connect with countless other people who are in the same place as them.”

Madeline, another CanTeen visitor who is a senior at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, said she gained confidence and came to see herself as a role model. Younger students have come to her for advice on high school navigation, mental health issues, and other topics.

“Before I attended, I was very shy and withdrawn. The idea of ​​public speaking was something that I feared enormously,” Madeline said. “I even discovered a passion for wanting to help others through social work.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call 315-699-1391 or email [email protected] Visit canteencny.com for more information about the center.

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