Who We Are
Since 2002 ACCESS SPORTS EXPERIENCES is a not for profit organization that provides inclusive multidimensional sporting opportunities to at-risk and special needs populations here in the Philadelphia area. Through ACCESS SPORTS Experiences, people of all ages, economic backgrounds, races and physical capabilities can receive the joy of a life transforming sporting experience. Partnering with social service agencies and all the Philadelphia professional sports teams and many universities, ASE has been able to provide over 165,000 life transforming sporting experiences.
- SPECTATING EVENTS: Tickets to all types of sporting events and games.
- PARTICIPATING EVENTS: Professionally run football, tennis, hockey and baseball clinics
- EDUCATING EVENTS: TOPICS: Nutrition, Head Injury/Brain Concussions, Recreational Therapy Programs
- ULTIMATE EVENTS: VIP Eagles Training Camp, On the Ice at the Wells Fargo Center, Watching Batting Practice on the Field with the Philadelphia Phillies
Meet Our Team
For over twenty years, Alyson has worked in the non-profit sector helping to provide inclusive experiences and activities for individuals with disabilities and at-risk youth. Prior to founding Access Sports Experiences (formerly known as Access Sports) in 2002, Alyson provided direct care and therapeutic recreational activities at the Devereux Foundation and RecCare, LLC to individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including Traumatic Brain Injury and psychiatric and developmental disorders.
Alyson currently serves on several non-profit committees. She is a founding Advisory Board member for Global Abilities Foundation. She also sits on the Temple University Therapeutic Recreation Advisory Committee; Recreation Committee for the Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities and was Director of the Eastern University Sports Symposium for the past two years. She has created several fundraising special events for other non-profits, in addition to her own. She has been honored at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association dinner and was recognized as one of the “Super Women” by Suburban Life Magazine.
Alyson speaks nationally about the ground-breaking research developed by ASE that documents the beneficial and lasting effects of attending spectator sporting events on those at-risk or with Special Needs. Conferences include: Sports Marketing Association, the Association for AAHPERD, Neumann University, and Eastern University.
Alyson is also a Non-profit Management Specialist/Consultant with SOARing Consulting, LLC. , a company that helps nonprofits develop strategic solutions to promote Strength, Opportunities, Aspirations and Rewards in growth and development, in addition to providing coaching and resources on designing and developing new organizations.
Alyson loves to meet people from all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities and inspiring everyone to discover their passion, purpose and mission in life. Alyson has an MS degree in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University.
Resources for Human Development (RHD)
A national human services nonprofit founded in 1970, Resources for Human Development serves tens of thousands of people of all abilities every year with caring, effective and innovative programs addressing intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health, homelessness, addiction recovery and more.
At RHD, we're committed to the fundamental value of dignity and respect for all human beings, to the empowerment of those we serve and our more than 4,600 employees, to a collaborative management model, and to the importance of timely change and risk-taking. RHD is led by its values, focusing on developing a highly decentralized organization with the broadest possible service mission.
In partnership with local governments and those we serve, RHD builds better lives, families and communities. RHD currently oversees and supports more than 160 programs in 14 states.
Alyson D. Harris
Lori J. McClure
Bruce Sham, CLF, has dedicated his financial service practice of over 37 years to working with families with children with special needs. His mission is to help families navigate through the difficult process of accessing resources and valuable government benefits for their children.
For the past 12 years, Bruce and General Agent, Harris Fishman, CLU, ChFC have sponosored thousands of children, schools, and non-profit organizations to participate in a Special Needs Awareness night at the Phillies.
In 2005, Bruce won the Acvocacy Award from Montgomery County MHMR for Exemplary Serivce and the Timothy C. Flanagan, CLU, ChFC Stewardship Award for Community Serivce.
He also recieved the Wendy Cohen Advocacy Award and the Ricky Godorov Key Day Award for this dedication and service to individuals with disabilities through the Association of Adults with Developmental Disabilities.
He continues to serve as the Presidential Advisor for the Association of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Jenkintown, PA. Bruce participates on the Advisory Board for the Philly Friendship Circle & the Venture Philanthropy Partnership.
Bruce is a sought after speaker at the World Congress for individuals with Disabilities, has appeared as a platform speaker of the Williams Syndrome Foundation, Epilepsy Society and numerous schools, non-profits, and religious institutions.
Bruce continues to participate in panel discussions at the Drexel-LeBow Graduate Center and Penn State Great Valley Graduate Center, as well as Town Hall progrmas at the University of Pennsylvania Autism Awareness and Research programs. A highlight of Bruce's career was speaking at the United Methodist Church with First Lady Virginia Thornburgh, where she discussed her book "That All May Pray."
Bruce and his wife, Hilde, are the founders of the Amanda Sham Resource Center for Children with Special Needs at the Old York Road Temple Beth Am in Abington, PA. This is a nationally acclaimed program that has serviced hundreds of children over the years, regardless of their learning differences or ability to pay.
Wendy Freedman's relationship with Access Sports Experiences began shortly after her son Ben started as an intern for the organization in 2011. Wendy, who has her own event decor business offered to assist with the decorating for the 1st Annual All Access Sports Auction, and like they say, "the rest is history." A graduate of Boston University, Wendy brings over twenty years of advertising and marketing experience to our organization. Originally from New York, Wendy has worked as both a staff and freelance copywriter for a number of leading retailers, among them Macy's, where she worked with public relations promoting special events for all Northeast stores, including celebrity appearances, benefit shopping days and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Wendy's enthusiasm for ASE is contagious, along with Ben who continues to volunteer; Wendy has gotten her whole family in on the act. Her husband Scott is now a sponsor of ASE through his company Monitorforhire.com and her two daughters Ariel and Julianne volunteer as well.
is the Chief Operations Officer of AYC Media, and is responsible for creating and managing the vital project management system that has earned AYC Media a stellar reputation for project efficiency amongst its many clients.
Tony’s approach has allowed the company's project capacity to increase exponentially with the current staff; managing over 1800 active websites.
With a BA from the University of Delaware’s School of Tourism and Hospitality, and a natural entrepreneur spirit, Tony has successfully combined his knowledge of the hospitality industry with technology.
Tony launched AYC’s first web development project in 2001, after a sales pitch for online advertising revealed an unanticipated obstacle, the need of a website. From there, AYC Media as we know it today was born.
Dr. Susanne Lesnik-Emas
Susanne Lesnik-Emas is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Therapeutic Recreation program within the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. With over 30 years experience as a recreation therapists and manager, Susanne teaching showcases the diverse mix of settings and disability populations with which she has experience, particularly with cognitive/communication impairments among adults/older adults, and caregiver (family & professional) education and training. Dr. Lesnik-Emas actively seeks to mesh the world of practice and academics through student assignments and projects. Dr. Lesnik-Emas has successfully incorporated a wide array of professional educational opportunities into her courses; these have included live webcasts, teleconferences, archived web programs, seminars and conferences. In addition to her outstanding teaching, Dr. Lesnik-Emas delivered over 70 presentations on a national, regional and local level. As a recognized expert in Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr. Lesnik-Emas routinely reviews grant applications for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Within the disability community, Dr. Lesnik-Emas currently serves on the regional based Access Sports' founder's board and has developed the Active Living for Persons with Aphasia program (2009) that provides weekly recreation therapy group sessions & support to members of the Philadelphia community. Dr. Lesnik-Emas has served on the planning committee of WHYY (public broadcasting)/Sound Partners foundation grant to produce Circle of Care project components; Circle of Care presented stories that use the arts to enhance communication and personalize the experience of health care. Dr. Lesnik-Emas has also been actively involved in promoting professional self-reflection as a part of interdisciplinary education through the use of the American Foundation of Internal Medicine supported film The Choice is Yours: Viktor Frankl. An advocate for service learning, Dr. Lesnik-Emas works in a consulting and training fashion with Senior Community Services' Senior Center at Home program based in Delaware County, PA; in this capacity she has been able to offer students opportunity to follow an assessment protocol and deliver a series of standardized assessments regarding boredom, satisfaction and depression.
On a national level, Dr. Lesnik-Emas has served as the American Therapeutic Recreation Association's (ATRA) leader of the Joint Task Force on Long Term Care, co-leader of the Task Force on Clinical Supervision, and as the co-leader of the Ethics Committee. On the regional level, Dr. Lesnik-Emas has been a board member of the Mid East Symposium on Therapeutic Recreation and has been a regional representative for the Pennsylvania Therapeutic Recreation Association. Locally, Dr. Lesnik-Emas served as President-Elect, President, & Past President of the New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Affiliate of ATRA, and has continued to serve as the Education Coordinator for their annual Fall Conference since 2003.
Focus on Service Based Learning
Dr. Lesnik-Emas brings a commitment to experiental learning, forging a strong relationship between classroom academics and practice. To this end, Dr. Lesnik-Emas places students in opportunities to build and practice their skills within the health care environment. During the senior level Clinical Procedures course, small groups of students determine a focus for a 6 session program, attempting to achieve goals and objectives set forth for a small group of clients. Ultimately, the student groups design and implement these 6 week programs, revising their content and process formats and submitting a protocol. During this process, students learn and practice co-leadership, facilitation techniques for groups, behavior management, program evaluation and forging therapeutic relationships with clients. Students have supported client groups at Inglis House (Women's Issues), Red Shield Residential/Salvation Army (Healthy living/coping for homeless women), Active Living for Persons with Aphasia (Emotional communication through music, communication skills for community reintegration), INTERAC (Healthy eating & living, Social skills for community mental health clients), and Sunrise of Haverford Assisted Living (Creative expression/life stage review through the arts).
These student-client interactions also serve the health care and health promotion community by demonstrating the power of recreation/leisure activity in the lives of individuals living with disabilities and at risk behaviors. Despite the challenge of group work, students always end this experience with broad smiles and comments detailing the extraordinarily rich opportunity of supporting people in their community.
Marlene Rivera joined the Access Sports family in 2005 while working on her Bachelor's Degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Temple University. She currently works as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at ReMed Recovery Care Center's Short Term Intensive Rehab System, where she obtained additional certification as a Brain Injury Specialist.
After having spent my entire life moving around in a Navy family, I moved to New York to study design when I was 19. I spent six years working for W.J. Slones furniture store, (one of the most exclusive in the world at the time) as an associate buyer and also in the custom design area rug department.
When I moved to Philadelphia, I managed an importing, exporting company, but later moved onto the management and marketing in women’s clothing. After a number of years, I went to advertising and finally into real estate.
I have been a licensed real estate agent since 1981. I started in resale and went on to work for Orleans Homebuilders for 20 years. Three years ago, I returned to resale real estate and am very happily working for The Brian Stetler Group at Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors. Prudential is not only a great company to work with and for, but excels in the marketing and technological fields company wide.
With a knack for problem solving and a stellar track record in Operations, Nevin Yost has built his career on the concept of managing not only financials, but the key relationships that make companies tick. Blame it on his desire to break the bounds of his rural Pennsylvania upbringing, but Yost's passion for forging connections with unfamiliar people is what's propelled his upward movement through the industry in just a few short years.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a B.S. in Finance, Yost spent two years as a Financial Operations Securities Specialist for the Bank of New York Mellon. Despite his successful track record at the large firm, his passion for nonprofit work and need for a change of scenery brought him to Philadelphia in mid-2010, where he accepted a position as a budget analyst at Resources for Human Development.
After quickly climbing the ranks at the 200-million dollar nonprofit organization, Yost took on a senior position as Director of Operations for RHD Children's Services. The promotion allowed him to further develop his ability to streamline procedures, cultivate new business and develop his well-honed sense of conflict resolution. As expected, Yost formed a number of new connections with his clients at RHD, eventually developing a close partnership with Alyson Harris, founder of Access Sports.
Merging his experience with his passion for volunteer work, Yost now serves as co-treasurer for Access Sports. His lifelong love of athleticism, sports and affinity for children are part of the reason why Yost's latest gig seems to be the best fit yet.