SNAP Basketball Celebrates 10 Years of Fun and Inclusion

Members of the South Shore SNAP basketball program gather in the Notre Dame Academy gym on Saturdays to shoot around and make friends.

February 2, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross

The legacy of Jess Adams lives on every Saturday during the winter season at her alma mater, Notre Dame Academy, as the program she started 10 years ago is still going strong a decade later.  As a board member of South Shore Special Needs Athletic Program and former basketball player, she brought this dream to life so that kids of all ages and abilities could enjoy and love the game as she did.  Jess passed away on December 17, 2017 after a battle with breast cancer, leaving behind a husband, two children, and a community that benefited from her generosity.

Co-founder Pam Berigan continues the program today that her fellow board member and friend started so many years ago, in which 33 kids from 9 towns participate in every week.

Whether it’s shooting around or rolling the ball around on the court, the kids and mentors spend quality time together while getting some exercise.

“At the time, Jess was the basketball coach for NDA’s team,” Berigan says. “Jess lost her battle to breast cancer in 2017. I promised to keep the program running.  She was such an inspiration to young adults in Hingham and at NDA. Her basketball number is still on the back of all participants shirts. The SNAP board misses her every day. We still get donations in her name all 5 years later. She meant so much to so many.”

Berigan doesn’t do it alone. She gets help from current NDA basketball coach Nickie Orlando, Sue Gannon, and members of the NDA basketball, Hingham High School boys and girls basketball teams, and Hingham’s Unified basketball team.

Sue Gannon, NDA basketball coach Nickie Orlando, and program co-founder Pam Berigan lead the charge to keep the legacy of Jess Adams going through this program.

“Playing sports is an important part of childhood and kids with disabilities do not have enough opportunities to participate in sports,” explains NDA junior Lola Paradis.  “So to be able to be involved in a program like SNAP is not only a lot of fun but extremely rewarding.  My favorite part of SNAP is seeing the joy in the faces of the kids when they walk into the gym.”

The mentors get as much out of the programs as the participants do.  NDA junior add that “it’s very rewarding to be a part of this great program.”

For more information about this and other programs offered by SNAP, visit their website at

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