POUGHKEEPSIE – Coach Brian Laffin, the city’s superintendent of parks and recreation has been collecting donations of basketballs to provide to each child that participates in the city’s “Every Kid Plays” summer basketball camps. The collection received enormous financial support from the city’s firefighters, members of IAFF Local 596.
Local 596 president Nick Bucher endorsed Laffin’s plan, saying “Our members work every day to keep the city safe. Coach Laffin is doing his best to keep the kids healthy by getting them outside and we are here to assist, as we always are.”
Coach Laffin said that the city’s police union (PBA) and police athletic league (PAL) are stepping up to help the city’s youth as well. “Detective Karen Zirbel and Satara Brown are helping to register the kids for the summer program and both the PBA and PAL are supporting the program by providing essentials for the children.” The registration is open through August 7, 2020. Laffin said that parents are encouraged to register their kids for the park nearest their house for convenience and safety reasons. “I hope this catches on for the entire summer,” Laffin added.
With the goal of collecting 300 basketballs so each participant would have their own, local officials also joined the crusade. Senator Sue Serino delivered several new basketballs to the coach on Friday, saying “Coach Laffin has come up with a great idea and I wanted to help.” The senator also vowed to deliver hand sanitizer for the kids. “In these times, we need to keep people safe. By practicing social-distancing, giving the kids their own basketballs, masks, and hand sanitizers, we can help avoid spreading viruses while still giving the kids a chance to get outside for exercise.” Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison also donated basketballs to the program and said “Our city is dedicated to helping our kids while also keeping them safe. Coach Laffin has established a plan to achieve both of those goals.”
As of Friday, the initiative has collected nearly 200 basketballs.