SADDLE BROOK, N.J. — All Saddle Brook parents James and Monica Maniscalco wanted was a place for their 11-year-old daughter to thrive.
Samantha Maniscalco, who has a rare chromosome abnormality, got just that when her parents founded the special needs soccer program Saddle Brook Angels in 2012.
This year, she gets more.
The Maniscalcos are adding lacrosse and cheerleading programs to the Angels’ curriculum for anyone between ages 5 and 16 — regardless of their disability — for one hour every Saturday beginning April 23.
“Our special needs children don’t have the same opportunities that a lot of other kids do,” said Monica Maniscalco, who has her masters degree in special education.
“We try to make them feel like part of a team," she said. "They might not always have that, but their typical counterparts usually do.”
The Maniscalcos are currently seeking people who can donate their time to help the Saddle Brook High School boys lacrosse team on the field, along with used or unwanted cheerleading uniforms.
“We want them to have a healthy lifestyle,” Maniscalco said. “To make friends and just have fun.”
The lacrosse and cheer programs cost $40 per child and will run every Saturday for eight weeks at the Avon Park in Saddle Brook.
Email Monica Maniscaclo to donate a uniform, sign up or get involved.