105 Campus Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820
Springbrook a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing innovative educational, residential, therapeutic, and self-directed supports and services to people of all ages with developmental disabilities has many employees who not only devote their careers to helping people with special needs, but also have personal experience with raising or supporting a family member with a disability as well. Wendy Slicer is one such employee and to celebrate her son’s personal growth through athletics, they published a book together, titled, “The Basketball Journey of Thomas Slicer.”
Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Wendy’s son, Thomas, attended public school in Jefferson, New York, until 2nd grade, when Wendy realized that Thomas would benefit from a more specialized learning environment so she enrolled him in The School at Springbrook. During his time at Springbrook, Thomas discovered his love of sports—particularly basketball—so, he joined the Springbrook Scorpions Special Olympics basketball team and went on to earn 3 gold medals, 6 silver, and 3 bronze. Thomas greatly benefited from his involvement with athletics and learned about making positive choices, social interaction, and goal setting. One of those goals was to attend Oneonta High School and play basketball on the varsity team, and in 2011, his goal became reality. Thomas thrived at Oneonta and was very popular on the basketball team. He says of his experience: “Whenever I had the ball and scored points, the crowd went wild for me and that felt great!” Seeing her son play varsity basketball for Oneonta was a proud parenting moment for Wendy. “Through his involvement with sports, Thomas has found a great deal of confidence and has experienced progress in ways we couldn’t have imagined.” She continues, “I was so happy with his progress that I wanted to write a book featuring illustrations by Thomas to show the world that autism is not a death sentence—it is simply a challenge that needs to be met according to the unique abilities of the individual.” Thomas’ next goal in life is to attend college and play basketball for an NCAA team.
In the two weeks since the book was published, the Slicers have sold over 60 copies through word-of-mouth alone. Each copy is $10. All proceeds are to be directly applied to Thomas’ college fund. Books can be purchased by contacting Wendy directly by phone at 607-267-6060 or via email at email@example.com.
On Saturday, March 7, from 9 am – 12 pm, Wendy and Thomas will be presenting a reading and book signing as a part of the Springbrook Scholastic Book Fair at The School at Springbrook Mirabito Library and Media Room. This event is free and open to the public, and copies of “The Basketball Journey of Thomas Slicer” will be available for purchase throughout the book fair's duration. The book fair will run from February 25 – March 9, and will be open Monday – Friday, 8 – 4 pm, and Saturdays, from 9 – 12 pm. For those who cannot make it in person, there is an online store available from February 20 – March 12, at the following web address: http://tinyurl.com/ot5rw2v. Books are available for purchase or donation to Springbrook and proceeds earned from the book fair will go to The School at Springbrook. For more information about the book fair, contact Jody Bolton at 607-286-7171, ext. 351 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.