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“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.