April Fools Day, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter, National Sibling Day, National Chocolate Mousse Day, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, are all recognized in my daily planner… When will World Autism Awareness Day be recognized too?
Since our last newsletter in late February, our organization can be proud of its impact. We have launched six new programs with 90 new participants who are now part of our weekly tennis programs! I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new tennis players, volunteers and parents to ACEing Autism. There are so many people to thank for making our mission a reality and touching so many families is personally so fulfilling on many levels. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I would especially like to recognize all the parents that have made our program a part of their lives. I hope that our tennis program provides a meaningful experience for your child and that you are witnessing physical as well as social gains.
Launches – Six new programs have launched since February of this year, bringing our total number of programs 45! ACEing Autism would like to send a warm welcome to our newest Program Directors Adrienne and Matthew Bransky (Dallas, TX), Elliott Pegg (Rancho Mirage, Ca), Rachel Bowden (Columbus, OH), Mary Palacio-Pike (Carol Gables, FL), Jarrod Liston (Carlsbad, CA), and Charlie Humes and Coach Chuck Willenborg at Johns Hopkins University Tennis (Baltimore, MD).
ACEing Autism would like to thank the following publications for highlighting our program and bringing awareness to autism.
Tennis with the Stars (Indian Wells) – ACEing Autism was the proud beneficiary of Cliff Drysdale’s 3rd Annual Tennis with the Stars event at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA. The evening featured a rare opportunity for amateurs, spectators, and VIPs to have an up-close and personal experience with the stars. This year’s stars included Taylor Fritz, Genie Bouchard, Madison Keys, and Francis Tiafoe. To see the video click here
Thank you to the 15 volunteers, 7 children, and amazing parents who made our first Kid’s Day clinic at the Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston a success! Special thanks to Anshu Sharma (Houston Program Director) for organizing the clinic, and to Danny Cardenas and Francis Tiafoe for making it so much fun for everyone! We hope to see everyone next year!
Miami Open – Our friends of Crystal Academy were excited to have Alicija Rosolska and the Florida Atlantic Men’s Tennis Team join them at ACEing Autism’s 2017 Miami Open Clinic in Key Biscayne, FL. The day was filled with endless smiles and excitement about tennis! To watch the video click here
We had a wonderful experience at this year’s Delray Beach Open with help from an amazing group of student-athletes from Florida Atlantic University Men’s team. Our thanks to the tournament organizers for always making us feel so welcome and the families and volunteers who made this year’s Delray Beach Open clinic a success!
ACEing Autism loves to hear great news from our Program Directors, parents, volunteers and friends like. Send us your great story to be featured in our next newsletter!
“Green Light ” Lessons “On this road called “life “, we are happy to have chosen the ACEing Autism path. 24 Vanderbilt Country Club volunteers hosted 10 participants in our Winter
launch and Spring programs, thinking we were the “teachers “. But we soon came to realize that our participants were the real educators. Our volunteers; all who happen to be retirees, were trained to improve children’s tennis skills, social interaction, and physical fitness. Yet, our autistic pupils, in all their fragility and majesty have taught us something we hadn’t bargained for: to be grateful patient adults. We know the parents of our participants to be courageous, loving, appreciative souls – so aware of the secret treasures of their children. Each session the bond grew stronger between our “mature adults” and kids. Our closing celebration was emotional – as participants received their medals – hugs and smiles were our rewards. Thank you to our Naples participants – you have touched us beyond words! Who would have guessed that we volunteers still love playing “Red Light, Green Light” with the kids?” -Noreen McEnery, Program Director (Naples, FL)
ACEIng Autism and Vanderbilt Country Club lost a great friend, but gained an angel…
Janet McDonald a member of Vanderbilt country club passed away on February 10th, 2017 with hopes of having her tennis friends donate to ACEing Autism in her honor. She is survived by her husband, Richard McDonald who tells us “The ACEing Autism program at Vanderbilt Country Club in Naples started up this winter just a few weeks before Janet passed away. I had observed one of the first sessions here, and was duly impressed with how organized the program was, the instruction provided, and the individual care given by all the volunteers. The kids, most of whom had never seen, let alone swung a tennis racquet before, were having a ball! I could see how each had captured a real sense of accomplishment, and along with it, a good feeling about her/himself. They could hit the ball, no matter where it landed, and that made them happy. Most of them couldn’t get enough. They all definitely left the session happy. You could see in their faces that they were looking forward to another day of tennis at Vanderbilt.
Upon returning home that day, I told Janet about the program, and she immediately said, “We should make that our primary organization for donations when I go.” She didn’t say it, but I know her experience with her grandchild Eliza was in the back of her mind. She saw the need firsthand.”
Our organization and Richard McDonald are so grateful for the tremendous response in Janet’s memory. And, we know that she is smiling down to all who responded with their gifts.