Welcome to Athletes Helping Athletes. We train and prepare high school Student Athlete Leaders to address complex social issues within their communities.

Leslie Allen, AHA Trainer and Former Professional Tennis Player, Pens Article on Race and the USTA

Athletes Helping Athletes Student Athlete Leadership Team trainer, Leslie Allen, recently shared her views on the USTA-issued statement regarding current social issues in America.  Allen, a member of the 1977 USC NCAA national championship tennis team and the winner of the 1981 Avon Championship tennis event, voiced her concerns over the USTA statement that she described as “tone deaf.”

You can read her story here.

Long Island’s Steven Matz Talks Leadership and Service

With 2020 Tim Bassett Leadership Award Winners

By: Markela Bouris

Long Island, NY, Monday, June 8, 2020… With the ongoing pandemic as a backdrop, Athletes Helping Athletes first-ever Tim Bassett Leadership Award winners were honored via Zoom call on Thursday, June 4, with special guest, Long Island native and New York Mets pitcher, Steven Matz. The group of young high school athlete leaders listened as AHA executive director Warren Breining and members of the winners’ school community sang their praises. With each winner came a long list of compassionate acts, great accomplishments, and outstanding leadership qualities – on and off the field.

Matz, a former standout pitcher for Suffolk’s Ward Melville High School, joined the call to honor, praise, and give students advice on topics such as sportsmanship and how to use their platforms for good. “No matter how big or how small your platform is, you can always pay it forward,” said Matz. One student threw the question, “What qualities do you look for in a leader?” at Matz. To this Matz listed punctuality, supportiveness, and accountability.

Matz shared with students his passion for service and community-building as well. He found his service passion to be helping members of the NYPD, FDNY, US Military, first responders, and their families. Matz created the TRU32 foundation in order to continuously support these brave individuals. Specifically, he has given scholarships to kids who lost their parents in 9/11, and most recently donated to hospitals in need of assistance amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Named after the late New York Nets professional basketball player and longtime member of AHA’s training staff, the Tim Bassett Leadership Award recognizes the high school student athlete leaders who, like Tim, display an extraordinary commitment to mentoring younger students, demonstrate a keen understanding of the life skills inherent in sport participation and exhibit the characteristics of the “ultimate team player.”  Sadly, Bassett passed away in December 2018, at the age of 67, after fighting a courageous two-year battle against cancer.

During the Zoom recognition ceremony, it became obvious that Bassett would be extremely proud of the inaugural winners of the award created in his honor.

Congratulations to the 2020 Tim Bassett Leadership Award winners!


Student Athlete Leaders Develop Unique And Innovative Ways To Host Their Final Meetings In Socially Distant Style

By: Markela Bouris

Long Island, NY, Friday, June 5, 2020…Given the Covid-19 pandemic, finishing up the school year looked a lot different than imagined for Athletes Helping Athletes and its members. Students and teachers alike had to reimagine education, and all that comes with it.  As extracurricular activities were stripped away, the high school student leaders involved in the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), came to the realization that an in-person final meeting with their local elementary and middle school level students would be impossible. Instead of calling it quits, the dedicated students and faculty rose to the occasion undeterred by the limits of social distancing.

Typically, the last meeting of the year would focus on drug and alcohol safety. However, many members felt that in light of the current situation, it would be more appropriate to bring focus elsewhere. For example, AHA members at Long Beach High School designated 30-minute sessions where they spoke to the younger students through video chats. The discussions focused around the transition to middle school and high school, while also comparing their own experience of SuperStorm Sandy in 2012 to how the students might be feeling currently. This engaging format and discussion outline were created by senior and Tim Bassett Leadership Award winner, Sage Bernstein (pictured right.)

Taking a different approach, members from Bay Shore recorded themselves reading children’s books aloud. These recordings were then sent to the members’ corresponding elementary schools where they could be listened to and enjoyed by the younger students. Locust Valley students plan to write letters to their younger selves, which will later be shared with their local fifth grade students. Additionally, the Harborfields High School group put together a video montage for their elementary school students packed full with advice on coping during this time of uncertainty.

All in all, where many see an obstacle, the students and faculty of the AHA community see this as an opportunity for growth and togetherness.


During Volunteer Recognition Week Athletes Helping Athletes

Honors Eight Members of its Student Athlete Leadership Team with

Inaugural Tim Bassett Leadership Awards

Long Island, NY, Thursday, April 23, 2020…Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA), the Long Island based nonprofit that created and administers the Student Athlete Leadership Team, today announced the names of eight Long Island high school athletes being honored with an inaugural Tim Bassett Leadership Award.

Named after the late New York Nets professional basketball player and longtime member of AHA’s training staff, the Tim Bassett Leadership Award recognizes the high school student athlete leaders who, like Tim, display an extraordinary commitment to mentoring younger students, demonstrate a keen understanding of the life skills inherent in sport participation and exhibit the characteristics of the “ultimate team player.”  Sadly, Bassett passed away in December 2018, at the age of 67, after fighting a courageous two-year battle against cancer.

From a list that included more than 1,000 high school student athletes participating in the Student Athlete Leadership Team at more than 35 high schools across Nassau, Suffolk, Orange and Ulster Counties, a panel of judges selected the following eight students as recipients of an inaugural Tim Bassett Leadership Award:

  • Sage Bernstein – Long Beach H.S
  • Morgan Elliott – Connetquot H.S.
  • Kelsey Hill – Commack H.S.
  • Zoe Leach – East Hampton H.S.
  • Sammi Lustig – Harborfields H.S.
  • Vincent Maronski – Miller Place H.S.
  • Frank Marrone – Locust Valley H.S
  • Graceann Murphy – Clarke H.S.

“On behalf of everyone involved with our Student Athlete Leadership Team, I want to congratulate each of the nine recipients of our first-ever Tim Bassett Leadership Awards,” said AHA Executive Director, Warren Breining.  “Many of these students had the pleasure and honor to sit before Tim during a number of training sessions throughout their high school careers.  That each of these outstanding young men and women are being honored with an award named in Tim’s memory, is living proof to the positive impact he had in the lives of others.  Although we miss him dearly, everyone involved in the program is committed to keeping his memory alive through the efforts and activities of the Student Athlete Leadership Team.”

A native of Washington D.C., Bassett became the first black member of the University of Georgia’s men’s basketball team, where he played between 1971-73, before beginning a seven-year professional career split between the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association.  Known for his physical play and tenacity, Bassett played a key role in helping the Nets capture the ABA title in 1976. Off the court, Bassett remained dedicated to serving others in need, especially children.  For more than 30 years, he served as one of AHA’s top professional athlete trainers, sharing personal life stories and important life skills with thousands of high school student athletes participating in AHA’s Student Athlete Leadership Team.

Athletes Helping Athletes wishes to thank all of those who helped bring the Tim Bassett Leadership Award to life.  Your ongoing support of the Student Athlete Leadership Program is greatly appreciated.


In Memory

Robert J. Stampleman

Bob Stampleman being interviewed by NHL broadcaster, Stan Fischler

Athletes Helping Athletes sadly announces the passing of founding board member and Senior Vice President, Robert J. Stampleman.  Bob passed away in early March at the age of 90, and for 36 years, he was a major force in AHA, lending his expertise in communications and policy development. 

Bob enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an advertising executive, publisher and the editor of GOAL, the official magazine of the National Hockey League.

All of us at Athletes Helping Athletes will miss Bob’s professional guidance, but most of all we will miss his friendship.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family and many friends.


2020 Marks 5th Decade for the

Student Athlete Leadership Team

AHA kicks off newest decade with sportsmanship and civility training sessions at Molloy College January 6-10

Rockville Centre, New York, January 9, 2020 … It seems hard to believe that as we welcome the year 2020, the Athletes Helping Athletes’ Student Athlete Leadership Team enters its fifth decade.  We kicked off the newest decade by hosting our second round to training for the 2019-20 school year, when we welcomed hundreds of high school student athletes to Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY from January 6-10.

Sportsmanship and Civility were the focus of this training round. Hundreds of Student Athlete Leadership Team members and their high school teachers/administrators from all of participating schools, each spent a day on the campus of Molloy College to discuss these very important topics.

AHA’s talented group of trainers, including former professional tennis standout Leslie Allen and former NY Giants running back Billy Taylor, hosted breakout sessions designed to help the students prepare their own personal stories about sportsmanship and civility.  In these sessions, the student athletes were presented with a number of challenging scenarios that they had to discuss in small groups and provide solutions to real-life issues.  From trash talking opponents and abusive fans to classroom cheating and online bullying, the student leaders shared their thoughts on ways to address these controversial situations in real-time.

The high school student athletes will now take what they learned from this round of training and develop their own personal stories and plans to address these real-life situations with elementary and middle school students in their own communities.  Members of the Student Athlete Leadership Team serve as role models for the younger students, and this form of peer-to-peer learning has become a powerful method of encouraging and inspiring young people to make positive decisions as they advance through their school years.

An added highlight of the week was the participation of the Mineola High School Student Athlete Leadership Team, one of the program’s original participants.  Leading the way for Mineola was teacher Karin Weidlein.  Karin helped bring the program full circle, as she was once a member of the program during her high school days!  We look forward to sharing Karin’s personal story and journey with you in a future website post, so stay tuned!

Check out our Sportsmanship and Civility training session slideshow!


Athletes Stepping Up!

In case you missed it, a couple of Tennessee high school football players scored big off the field recently, when they presented a freshman classmate with a “new” wardrobe.  This dynamic duo showed some inspiring compassion and caring when they noticed the freshman getting bullied for wearing the same clothes to  school for days at a time.  The two returned to school one day after raiding their own closets and presented their schoolmate with a new “drip!”  AHA commends the act and encourages everyone to step out of the shadows to help others in need.

You can watch a news clip of the story here.

Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine Returns to His SALT Roots


Rockville Centre, New York, Friday March 15, 2019 … Athletes Helping Athletes wrapped up its final five-day training conference of the 2018-19 school year with the return of one of the program’s founding professional athletes, NHL Hall of Famer and former New York Islanders star, Pat LaFontaine.

LaFontaine shared his personal experiences about sports and community service with our Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), and praised the group for continuing along a path paved by Long Island’s high school athletes more than 30 years ago.

Among many inspiring points raised by LaFontaine, perhaps one of his most poignant remarks referred to our calling in life.  As LaFontaine stressed to the group assembled at Molloy College’s Public Square, a calling chooses you, you don’t choose a calling.

To support this belief, LaFontaine cited his own calling to create the Companions in Courage Foundation, after months of playing video games with a youngster hospitalized with Leukemia.  This led LaFontaine to launch his foundation with the mission of building interactive game rooms in children’s hospitals throughout North America.  Today, his foundation touches the lives of more than 60,000 hospitalized children.

“We all have goals in life and it’s important to ‘score’ your goals,” LaFontaine told his captivated audience.  “But in the end, it’s about the assists you provide…the people you help.  That’s what’s truly important, helping others.”

LaFontaine also praised the high school athletes for their efforts to personally interact with the younger students by visiting their classrooms. As LaFontaine discussed during his talk, social interaction has become a challenge for all of us in the digital age.

“We have so much technology that it literally, at times, isolates us from getting into group settings,” states LaFontaine. “That’s why I admire what you’re doing. You’re having real conversations with the kids.”

In short, LaFontaine believes the importance of playing youth sports has never been more important, because, in today’s world, playing sports provides youth with much-needed personal interaction.

Following LaFontaine’s talk, the SALT participants broke off into small groups to attend workshops designed to help them craft messages about positive life choices.  More than 700 high school students from across Long Island and other parts of New York completed the same task during the week.

The SALT participants will now embark on a series of school visits with children in lower grades throughout their respective school districts, where they will serve as mentors, role models and leaders.  Just as Pat LaFontaine, his teammates and past generations of high school athletes did more than three decades ago.

(Visit our Facebook page (@AHAPrograms) to watch our five-part video series featuring Pat LaFontaine’s presentation to the Student Athlete Leadership Team.)

Check out our March Training Conference Photo Gallery!

AHA Hosts Training Conference on Sportsmanship and Civility for Student Athlete Leadership Team Participants 

Hundreds of student athletes from more than 30 high schools across Long Island and other parts of New York gathered in groups on the campus of Molloy College in Rockville Centre between Monday, January 7 and Friday, January 11.  The purpose of the gathering was Athletes Helping Athletes’ second of three training conferences of the school-year, this time with a focus on sportsmanship and civility.  Each session included a different group of schools, with AHA Executive Director Warren Breining welcoming and opening each session with a wonderful tribute video to longtime AHA trainer and former NY Nets professional basketball player, Tim Bassett.  Sadly, late last year, Tim lost a heroic battle against cancer, but his spirit and dedication to the Student Athlete Leadership Team will live on forever.

During each daily session, the students heard from the AHA training staff, who helped the high school athletes develop lesson plans for their future visits with middle-school students in their respective communities.

In short, the trainers helped the student leaders develop ways to use their own personal stories to help teach lessons of sportsmanship and civility.  Some of the topics discussed included competing with character and integrity, respecting others, combating negative behavior, such as hazing and bullying and committing to the rules of the game.

AHA would like to thank members of the Student Athlete Leadership Team for taking part in the training session, and we extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the teachers and administrators from each school who have helped sustain the success of the AHA program for more than 30 years.

Check out our training session photo gallery!



Connetquot H.S. Student Athlete Leadership Team Connects with Local Fifth Graders

High school students participating in the Athletes Helping Athletes Student Athlete Leadership Team know that it’s never too early to share life-lessons with students in younger grades.  In December, Student Athlete Leaders from Long Island’s Connetquot High School spent some time with fifth graders from nearby Edith Slocum Elementary School.  During their visit, the high school student leaders shared some of their own stories about navigating their way through the school system’s upper grades and explained the benefits of getting involved with extracurricular activities.

Throughout the school-year, hundreds of AHA Student Athlete Leadership Team members from 35 high schools in New York’s Nassau, Suffolk, Orange and Ulster counties will be making several visits to lower grades in their school districts to promote positive life-skills through proper decision making and healthy, inclusive activities.

Smithtown H.S. West Student Athlete Leadership Team

Has a Ball Helping Others

From bowling balls to dodgeballs, members of Athlete’s Helping Athletes’ Smithtown High School West Student Athlete Leadership Team had a “ball” helping others during the first half of the school-year.  The spirited and creative youth leaders hosted a dodge ball game in which cans of food served in place of an entry fee.  The effort helped members of the community dodge hunger, as the cans of food were donated to the nearby Smithtown Food Bank. 

The AHA Leadership Team also hosted a safe Halloween event by putting their own twist on bowling and called it Boo…ling, and they spent time visiting with younger students at Great Hollow Middle School.

We thank and commend the Smithtown West Student Athlete Leadership Team for having such a positive impact on their community.

[Note: Attention all AHA member schools, please share summaries and photos from your activities with us, so we can share them with others. Thank you!]


Tim Bassett, Esteemed AHA Student-Athlete Leadership Team Trainer, Loses Courageous Battle Against Cancer

Statement of AHA Executive Director, Warren Breining

Regarding the Passing of Tim Bassett

Athletes Helping Athletes is sad to announce the passing of Tim Bassett, an esteemed member of our leadership training team for more than 30 years.

For those of us who were fortunate to work with Tim, we will miss his enthusiasm and friendship.  For the AHA student-athletes, the void will be immeasurable. Tim’s unique ability to connect with and inspire high school athletes has become legendary.

For three decades he used his unique life story as a top collegiate and professional basketball player to help thousands of student-athletes examine their own athletic experiences to better understand the true value of sport, and the life skills and life lessons they gained from participating in athletics.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tim’s family, friends and fans around the world.  We are all better people for having known Tim Bassett.


AHA Welcomes 2018-19 Newcomers


Beginning Friday, October 12 and continuing each Friday (with the exception of Oct. 19) up to and including November 2, Athletes Helping Athletes will host a series of conferences designed to welcome and train the newest members of its Student Athlete Leadership Team.

In all, more than 300 students from more than 30 high schools across Long Island and other parts of New York are expected to visit Molloy College in Rockville Centre over the next few weeks, where they will be greeted by and learn from AHA staff, guest speakers and program trainers.



During this first three and a half-hour session, the students will hear from former NY Giants running back, Billy Taylor; tennis players Kyle Copeland and Leslie Allen; and former European professional hockey player, Dan Bedard.  These esteemed speakers will lead workshops designed to assist the student athlete leaders with their organizing and planning skills, as well as helping the students use their own personal stories of success and failure to craft motivational messages.  These very personal messages will become the centerpiece of each high school student’s presentation to younger students in grades 5 and 6 during a series of planned visits throughout the school year.

The Athletes Helping Athletes’ Student Athlete Leadership Team enjoys the support of Molloy College and Nassau and Suffolk BOCES in helping train and encourage high school students to  become role models and youth leaders in their own communities.

AHA Program Leaders Gather to Share Ideas and Plan for 2018-19 School Year


On Friday, September, 22, nearly 50 teachers, administrators and athletic directors gathered at Malloy College in Rockville Centre, NY on Long Island, as the Athletes Helping Athletes’ high school Student-Athlete Leadership program formally kicked off its 33rd year.

The seminar-like event was hosted by AHA Executive Director, Warren Breining, who was joined by program administrators from across Long Island as well as a newcomer to the program, Port Jervis (Orange County, NY) high school.  During the two-hour session, each participating school was provided an opportunity to share with the others some of its best-practices as well as its students’ activities.

“I’d like to thank all those school administrators who took time away from their busy schedules to attend our kick-off session,” said Breining.  “The energy, passion, enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to the program is very encouraging.  Many of our attendees have been in the program for more than a decade, some for many more, and it was great to see those people share their best-practices with some of our newcomers.  It’s very inspiring when you hear first-hand how much of an impact the high school students participating in the Student-Athlete Leadership program are having on the younger students.”

Based upon the open dialogue and the free-flowing exchange of ideas, 2018-19 is shaping up to  Based upon the open dialogue and the free-flowing exchange of ideas, 2018-19 is shaping up to be one of the program’s most successful years.  That success is measured, in large part, by the positive impact the high school student leaders are having on younger grades in their school districts.  The hundreds of high school students participating in the AHA program are finding and creating unique ways to connect with their younger counterparts.

Many of the student leaders are committed to developing programs, activities and messages that focus on promoting inclusion, anti-bullying, in addition to positive decision-making and healthy lifestyle choices.  A common theme during the session was the need to begin increasing the messaging to counter the unfortunate uptick in vaping, the use of an electronic cigarette to replace tobacco smoking.

There is plenty of work to be done as the program embarks on another year serving as a positive force in its communities, and AHA wishes all of its 2018-19 participants a successful campaign.

For information on how your school can join the program, please send an e-mail inquiry to Warren Breining, executive director, wdbaha@aol.com.



Good Read: Hoops-playing Calhoun homecoming king serves as mentor

Newsday screen grab








AHA inspires leaders to address complex social issues by using the power and appeal of sport 

Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA) has been designing and delivering educational programs for students, athletes, coaches, officials and administrators for 30 years to help families, schools and communities address complex social issues.

AHA’s innovative programs, including the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) Program and the Sports Parenting Education Program (SPEP), emphasize the positive elements and innumerable life lessons of the sports experience.

Since 1984, more than 600,000 students, children, coaches and educators in the U.S. and Canada have benefited from AHA programs that promote positive life lessons and a healthy sports environment.

AHA is committed to highlighting the positive influence that sports can have on society.

For more information, please e-mail Warren Breining, AHA director, at wdbaha@aol.com.

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