In partnership with Team IMPACT, the Brandeis men’s basketball team drafted Jack Dollar to be part of their team on Dec. 12, 2019. According to a Newton Wickedlocal article, Dollar, an 11-year-old resident of Newton, is a student at the Campus School at Boston College and lives with epilepsy.

“We were very excited for Jack’s signing day,” one of the men’s basketball captains, Collin Sawyer ’20, said in an email to the Justice on Dec. 21. He added that Dollar was able to attend a toy drive and basketball clinic in the week after his signing. “He will attend as many home games as possible wearing his Brandeis jersey and hopefully sit at the end of our bench. We will make an effort to keep him involved in all activities we do on and off the court,” Sawyer wrote.

Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit organization that is based out of Boston that matches children facing chronic or serious illnesses with the athletic teams of colleges and universities across the country. According to the the Newton Wickedlocal article, Team IMPACT has matched 1,900 children to teams in 48 states at over 500 colleges and universities. Over 55,000 student athletes from these schools participate in these partnerships. These partnerships aim to increase a child’s optimism and confidence and give them a greater sense of belonging.

TeamImpact 12.12.19 NZ 0336.jpg

The men’s basketball team marks the eighth Brandeis program in the past ten years to partner with Team IMPACT. According to an article about Dollar’s drafting on the Brandeis Athletics website the men’s and women’s soccer teams, softball team and volleyball team also have Team IMPACT members of their teams. The baseball team and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have had members of their teams from Team IMPACT in the past. 

Sawyer explained that Dollar was matched with their team, when one of the assistant coaches, LJ Harrington, reachied out to the Team IMPACT program to try to start the partnership 

He added that the process of getting a match can be lengthy, but in this case the team was lucky and received a match quickly. “About a month ago, we found out we would be gaining a new member through Team Impact and we were able to meet Jack for the first time a few weeks ago,” Sawyer wrote. The team met Jack, his sister Charlotte and his parents as they took a tour of the Brandeis Athletics facilities. 

The signing on Dec. 12 was attended by the men’s basketball team, Brandeis Athletic staff, Jack’s family and other members of the Team IMPACT community. At the event, Jack physically signed onto the basketball team and received a Brandeis basketball jersey of his own to signify his membership on the team. The attendees had their photos taken and enjoyed a cake served to celebrate the signing.

Sawyer told the Justice that he thinks all Brandeis Athletics teams should partner with Team IMPACT. He said, “You have to understand that these programs really make a difference for these kids because they really benefit from the positive relationships they build. They are being given the chance to be on a team and experience something we often take for granted. This program makes you really appreciate the opportunity we have to be part of collegiate athletics.” He added that the team is looking forward to getting to know Dollar better throughout their season.