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Three basketball coaches standing side by side in an empty gymnasium. All three are wearing blue shirts.
(L-R) Coaches Jack Davenport from Bethpage, Bill Dubin from Sewanhaka / SIBSPlace, and Ed Risener of Oceanside. (Photo courtesy of Bill Dubin)

Hoops For Hope: The Sports Fundraiser For A Cause

Mid-January marked the return of an annual effort to better the lives of families impacted by cancer. For the past 19 years, Coach Bill Dubin — formerly of Hewlett High School, now Assistant Coach at Sewanhaka — has spearheaded Hoops for Hope, a fundraiser for SIBSPlace.

Three Hoops for Hope games were hosted on Jan. 13, 18 and 19, featuring boys basketball teams from a variety of schools across Nassau, the first of which pitted Bethpage High School against Oceanside High School, followed by Sewanhaka High School vs. Carey High School and Hewlett High School vs. Bellmore JFK High School.

A group photo of the Basketball team, dressed in all white.
Bethpage High School’s basketball team, with Coach Jack Davenport. (Photo courtesy of Bill Dubin)

Bethpage defeated Oceanside by a score of 57-37. Head Coach Jack Davenport was happy to join in the fun for another year. “Coach Dubin is a dear friend of mine and we have coached against each other for several years,” he said. “Bethpage had participated in four Hoops for Hopes games in previous years. Due to the pandemic, the games were put on hold, so this year, Coach Dubin reached out to me again about participating. Coach Dubin has done an excellent job coordinating these fundraisers and games over the years and the Bethpage team and school district are eager to support SIBSPlace.”

SIBSPlace provides supportive programming for the siblings or children of local residents who have a devastating illness such as cancer. The nonprofit has been serving the families of Nassau County and Long Island since 2000. Based in Rockville Centre, SIBSPlace uses a psychosocial support model based in prevention therapy, and works to help children deal with anxiety, build meaningful relationships with peers, externalize their feelings, and to have their feelings validated. Today, SIBSPlace is an affiliate of Mount Sinai South Nassau.

Bethpage students were also eager to raise money for a good cause. “Many of the children in the SIBSPlace program attend schools like Bethpage, Sewanhaka and Oceanside. For the students on our team, these children are their classmates and colleagues,” explained Davenport. “Being able to play in support of the organization and the people they serve was truly a rewarding experience.”

Coach Dubin has been involved with SIBS since its beginnings, and is now on the board of directors. He said the fundraiser began originally as a Kiwanis Club basketball tournament, which later became the Hoops for Hope program. Dubin was a Hewlett varsity basketball coach for 23 years, this year making his debut as assistant coach at Sewanhaka High School. There was always a Hoops for Hope game at Hewlett, and throughout the years there have also been games at West Hempstead, Bethpage, Oceanside, but Hewlett has always been the anchor. Each year, Dubin reaches out to school district head coaches to see if anyone is interested in joining the fundraising games. “This year I was lucky to have Bethpage respond again, and Hewlett and Sewanhaka also both [hosted] games.”

Dubin has worked for much of his life to help out kids. “Everything I’ve done in my career has always been for kids. If a kid needed something, I’d try to find the resources to make it happen for them,” he explained. When he was a Hewlett coach, Dubin would help fund tickets to away games or team trips, or a new pair of sneakers for a player.

This love of helping children has carried over into his multi-decade relationship with SIBSPlace, and the families they serve. “When it comes to SIBS kids, they need a lot of help. And our program doesn’t charge [families] anything. It’s all based on donations and fundraising.”

Aside from his love for helping families, Dubin also relates more personally to struggles with disease. “I’m also a cancer survivor from 23 years ago. I look back on that time, and if my daughter had been born [at that time], this would have been a great program for her to be involved in. So I was very lucky, and I want other people to have those resources I could have needed.”

Dubin is proud to work with such an inspiring organization, and hopes that the Hoops for Hope fundraiser helps get the SIBS name out there. “It’s really the only program of its kind in the country. The fact that the siblings or children of someone with cancer or another illness, they’re able to function as normal as possible and have a regular life. And we also have therapies and a bereavement group for families that have unfortunately lost someone… We’re very well-rounded, and we have a lot of programs available.”

He continued, “This program has gone on for 19 years, and hopefully it will continue, even grow. I’m hoping we can get even more schools involved… We want to get SIBS’ name out there. A lot of people haven’t heard of us or don’t know what we do, and we really want to spread our wings and get information out there.”

If you are interested in getting involved, or learning more about SIBSPlace services, visit https://www.sibsplace.org/

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