Every week he volunteers with The Bouncers, a local basketball team made up of special needs athletes who participate in the Special Olympics. He also volunteers with the Bergen County Charity Classic, a baseball tournament that annually raises funds for charities and foundations for families associated with youth sports who have faced tragedy or illness.
As if all that was not enough, Jesse also researches, writes, designs and publishes a newsletter exclusively for kids being mentored through the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS) program. A goal of VIPS is to help kids, who have suffered abuse, neglect or isolation, see and take steps to achieve a brighter future. Jesse selects topics and provides news, factoids, graphics, and fun notes to help pique interest and spark conversation between the mentors and the kids: sports, politics, movies, coming events, and – as a concession to the girls – even an article about the American Girl Doll.
“Writing the newsletter each month gives me a chance to use my skills to help improve the lives of other people,” says Jesse. “I like the fact that what I am doing can make a difference. When you do these things you become a better person and leave an impact on others. With the basketball, I am able to teach other people the skills that I have in sports. I love to see how happy they are when they learn a new skill and are able to use it.”