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About Us

Our Mission

High Expectations, Inc. is dedicated to the enrichment of the “whole person” by providing developmentally disabled individuals and their families’ access to athletic, recreational and social activities to supplement their educational and vocational training. Access to these types of activities will enable disabled individuals to fully develop as healthy, “well-rounded” citizens, allow them to contribute more completely to the society in which they live promoting a greater quality of life.

Our Story

HEI was started by parents in 2002, with 7 children aged 8-12 competing in two sports.

HEI is an idea founded by Mr. Stephen Smith and Mrs. Diane Heitmeyer. The organization started in 2002 as a loosely knit group of parents and their athletes with disabilities.


7 athletes and their families got together at the request of Stephen and Diane to form a soccer team which would compete under the flag of Special Olympics New Jersey as The New Jersey Hawks. The first soccer season was such a success that The New Jersey Hawks added a basketball team with the same players. By the second season, both teams had grown to full rosters of 10 players each. 501(c)(3) status was awarded in 2010, and by word of mouth, the organization has grown to 80 families, fielding 7 basketball teams, 4 soccer teams, a full swim team, a softball team, bowling league, a volleyball team, a bocce team and most recently a golf team.

All of our coaches volunteer their time, many of which are parents of players on their teams.


In addition to our sports programs the HEI / NJ Hawks organization also provides a rather extensive social program, which includes dances with professional DJ’s, an end of year picnic for member families and friends, and many special events. Community outreach and service efforts are also being increased to raise awareness and give back to the community.

Board Members

Derek Walker

Director, Sports Coordinator

Diane Heitmeyer

Secretary, Fundraising, Social

Patricia Esler


Jim McGrath

Assistant Director

Diane Wisniewski

Membership Chairperson

Barbara Gilio

Social Committee Chair


Derek Walker


Jerry Gaeta


Tracey Starker


Carl Heitmeyer


(Additional coaches will be added soon!)

Accomplishments and Goals

This fiscal year we had many highlights in the High Expectations Inc. calendar and plans moving forward:

1.Increased athletic participation in SONJ Sports.

2.Dances, Holiday Craft Party, Friends & Family Day, Community Outreach Projects and Participation, Fundraising Opportunities.

3.The first thirty minutes of every Board meeting is available for members or members families to come and discuss whatever ideas they have for the organization. We need to give what is wanted to the members and not just what we as a Board think that you want. That’s why we have rolled out the Committees so that everyone can join or have a representative on a Committee that has their members’ best interest in mind. Because of the disparity in age among our members, we need to have options that meet the needs of everyone.

4.We have increased the capabilities of our website so that we can be more interactive with each other to connect with our membership. We have the ability to do polls, forums, access photobucket to post photos, access links that are pertinent to us, etc.

5.We need to increase our Community presence, get more publicity for our organization so that we can partner with other organizations and/or groups. Partner doesn’t mean we always receive; we need to teach our kids that they be the giver sometimes as there are people who need their help as well.

6.Also, we are fortunate enough to have some members think of our organization when their companies have grant/donor matching programs because we are a non-profit. THANK YOU for your continued support. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

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