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Fast Break Buddy Ball Brings About New Friends Through Basketball

Buddy Ball is an annual program that teaches basketball skills to school-age children and teens with special needs.

Even if you're not a fan of basketball, Saturday's game at Churchill school will have you applauding every basket.

On Saturday, Fast Break's Buddy Ball Division will hold its sixth annual Findlay Urban Buddy Ball Game, an exercise in teamwork, perseverance and personal accomplishment.

Fast Break Buddy Ball has provided a basketball league for the last 10 years to school-age kids and teens with special needs.

On Saturday, the players, paired with their PALS, volunteer players who assist their "buddies" with learning the sport, will have their annual game, showing off the skills they have learned through Buddy Ball.

The game will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday in the gym of Churchill Junior High School, 18 Norton Road. It is free and open to the public.

"The program has grown tremendously over the years and this event gives our Buddies (players) a chance to enjoy the spotlight and showcase their newly learned skills, and competitive spirit," said program director Howie Alexander.

The players and their PALS have been practicing every Saturday since December, Alexander said. There are 72 buddies and 94 PALS currently in the program, he said.

PALS assist the buddies in learning the game and make sure they are kept safe, but their involvement goes beyond that, Alexander said.

"They become someone a Buddy shares what is going on in their lives, confides in, and becomes a friend," he said.

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