About Backyard Players & Friends
Founded in 2015, Backyard Players & Friends is an inclusive community organization located in Rockville Centre, New York . We work to give every person a space so that together we can share ideas and experience openness, joy and creativity. We offer classes throughout the year for our participants to develop physically, emotionally and creatively in an environment where every individual is valued and celebrated for their unique gifts and point of view. Classes offered include art, yoga, theater, dance, music, creative writing and many more. For a full description of all of our classes click here.
In addition to our weekly classes, we offer a wide range of community outreach programs. Employment Connections supports the development of job readiness skills and employment opportunities with business partners in the local community. Love, Nana supports families in needs while providing service experiences in our donation center. "BYP on the Go!" is a traveling workshop which visits local schools while promoting emotional intelligence when navigating through tough social interactions that all individuals face daily.
During the past several years, we have served over 200 participants with over 20 course offerings and dozens of community partners. In the fall of 2021, we proudly opened The Backyard, an inclusive community space located in the heart of Rockville Centre. This location serves as a central meeting point for our classes and outreach programs. From our founding, we have believed that inclusion makes our world a better place and that everyone is welcome in The Backyard.
Ellen White is a community leader who has served as an integral resource for children with developmental disabilities on the South Shore of Long Island for several decades. She leads our community development, fundraising and programing initiatives. Through dedication, compassion and humor, Ellen has helped to create a community of inclusion and joy.
Ryan Delaney is a New York State certified Special Education Teacher focusing on the needs of individuals who are blind and visually impaired with over 14 years of experience in the field. He has been a member of BYP & Friends since its inception and directs our technology and curriculum development initiatives. Ryan also leads our Movie Bites, Photography & Game Show classes as well as providing support at our other classes.
Cristine Daly is a co-founder of Backyard Players and Friends and has spent the past several years dedicating her time and talents to creating inclusive classes for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities. She is an Early Childhood educator with over 15 years of teaching experience. Cristine has led our financial initiatives as well as partnering with the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). She has established relationships with a number of Fiscal Intermediaries to obtain self-direction funding for BYP participants. Cristine directly supports several BYP classes including Theater, Yoga, Movie Bites, Zumba and Pound Fitness.