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Women’s Lacrosse Teams Up With Magic Paintbrush Project

Bearcats conduct 'Paint with the Players' workshop for Owego Elementary special ed class

May 24, 2013


Women’s Lacrosse Teams Up With Magic Paintbrush Project

Magic Paintbrush Project Website

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Contact: Terrence Lollie (tlollie@binghamton.edu)

VESTAL, N.Y. – Binghamton University athletics and the Magic Paintbrush Project combined forces once again to provide an elementary school class with a day of fun and excitement through the creative and innovative ‘Paint with the Players’ workshop. The women’s lacrosse team visited the special education class of the displaced Owego Elementary at Union-Endicott’s Thomas J. Watson elementary school during the final week of classes.

Spearheaded by senior captain Kristin Pennino, who interned with the Magic Paintbrush Project, the women’s lacrosse team was determined to find a class to conduct a ‘Paint with the Players’ workshop with before the semester was over. When Magic Paintbrush Workshop Coordinator Maureen Yacyncych suggested Trish O’Neill’s special education class at Owego Elementary, who was displaced because of the 2011 flood, a perfect match was created.

“The Magic Paintbrush Project is something that we’ve tried to stay involved with,” interim head coach Stephanie Allen said. “It’s been really close to Kristin’s heart and ours as well, so given the opportunity to come out here before the semester ended was pretty exciting.”

Typically, the two groups would travel to the Magic Paintbrush Project’s home office inside the Oakdale Mall in nearby Johnson City. However, since the 2011 flood that devastated the Southern Tier, Owego Elementary has called Thomas J. Watson home for the past two school years and with a tight bus schedule it made more sense for the players and the Project to go to the students.

“To have the two groups come out to the school, which isn’t typical, was awesome,” Owego Elementary special education teacher Trish O’Neill said. “Just for the kids to talk to new faces and share their stories in a fun and creative way is incredible. We’ve done the workshop the past couple years and for the kids to get attention from Division I student-athletes is really something else.”

The women’s lacrosse team and the Magic Paintbrush Project held a pair of sessions inside Owego’s special education classroom for about 20 students. Players and students teamed up and worked on their communication and social skills while telling stories and squirting paint. By the end, the majority of the participants were covered in paint, which was easily cleaned off the tile floor by both groups.

“I love seeing my team interacting with the kids and working together,” Pennino said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the Magic Paintbrush Project because it’s such a positive atmosphere…and it’s always a really fun time.”

The Magic Paintbrush Project provides facilitated workshops for thousands of individuals, infants through geriatrics, diagnosed with a developmental disability. The Project presents unique programs that are designed to meet the needs and goals of the individuals and their families and caregivers. The Project serves an average of 4,500 participants each year throughout the Southern Tier and Northeast Pennsylvania, including 16 school districts in New York.

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