This newsletter is dedicated to Jim Speir, our friend, colleague and true ambassador of ACEing Autism, who passed away last month at the age of 61. Jim grew up in Los Angeles and played tennis his whole life, first as a junior in the Pacific Palisades, then as a competitive Division I player at Texas Tech University. He moved back to Los Angeles in 2011, and shortly thereafter became involved with ACEing Autism. He had never worked with children with autism until he joined ACEing. He developed a particularly close connection with a 10 year old boy in our program named Asher Major. Jim worked with Asher both through the group program and private weekly lessons, and he helped Asher develop from a boy who could barely hold a racquet to someone who could play competitive matches! Jim served as a volunteer at our Burbank, CA program for four years, and he became an integral part of our ACEing family. We are truly saddened by his passing, and we know that his legacy will survive on and off the court through children such as Asher, who he mentored and taught with patience, kindness, and enthusiasm. He is survived by his loving wife Cindy.
Operational Updates. August marks the completion of a yearlong project making program upgrades! We have updated both the parent and volunteer manuals, as well as the 9 STEP program curriculum. There is also an online video library that includes all of the exercises that make up our curriculum. Our volunteers can now access training videos to learn how we teach tennis to children and prepare for the on-court training. Improving our manuals and resources will strengthen our program quality and optimize the volunteer training process. It is an exciting period for our organization, as we now have the infrastructure in place to support program expansion. Our goal for 2017 is to add ten new program locations across the US and serve 200 new families.
To our Boston friends, please join the Aceing Autism team in the Flutie 5k Run/Walk. This will be our 7th year supporting the Flutie Foundation and this year is extra special because this event is the last leg of Zoe Spiegel’s Bat Mitzvah Project Triathlon. Zoe was part of the pilot program in the fall of 2008 and has been part of every session we have offered since. She has participated in approximately 160 hours of clinics at The Longfellow Club and her tennis game has made unbelievable gains! Please register at this link here and choose the option to join a team and select ACEing Autism. For more information on Zoe’s project click here!
First Annual Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament at MountainGate Country Club
The inaugural ACEing Autism Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament was held on Sunday, July 24th, 2016 at MountainGate Country Club. This fundraising event was a huge success as we raised a total of $15,500. Celebrity attendees included world renowned tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver; former ATP pros Vince Spadea; and Derrick Rostagno. TV celebrity guests included Eric Braeden, Alan Thicke, Eric Pierpoint, and Ben Murphy. Two players from the Stanford University Men’s Tennis Team, David Wilcyznski and Michael Genender, also played in the tournament. The event started off with an inspiring, heartfelt speech by tennis pro and ESPN broadcaster Pam Shriver. Pam also facilitated an ACEing Autism clinic for children in our program. After the clinic, we had a day full of tennis concluding with a reception that featured a silent and live auction. A total of 64 players participated in the tournament and approximately 100 guests watched from the sidelines. The event would not have been possible without the help of Kris Jordan, the Director of Tennis at MountainGate Country Club. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Rosenthal and Surfrider Wines for providing beverages at our closing reception. We look forward to making this a successful annual event! See some news here
Third Annual U.S. Open Queen’s Day Event
For the third year in a row, we returned to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY to host our Queen’s Day Event. This event was a great success as we had approximately 30 children attend. This annual event has become an ACEing Autism staff and family favorite. It is fantastic to see smiles on the faces of many children while they are participating at this event during the qualifying rounds of the U.S. Open. Read more click here
October 30th – November 6th 2016, ACEing Autism is the beneficiary of the CopperWynd Women’s Pro-Challenge.
Let’s bring high level tennis to Fountain Hills, AZ! Please join us to raise money for our world renowned ACEing Autism program and help make it available to our local Scottsdale children. Sponsoring the CopperWynd Women’s Pro Challenge gives you access to a highly sought out demographic of savvy, brand loyal consumers. The CopperWynd Women’s Pro Challenge will provide sponsors with unique opportunities to interact, socialize, and promote at several intimate events throughout the week. For more information please visit www.arizonachallenger.com
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