A tennis and child lover, Sara Longo found her perfect passion when found ACEing Autism while looking how to stay connected to kids and tennis. “I was a Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) while finishing college and I loved it!” the new mother explained. I helped kids at school, at home, even after school if needed and even though it took a lot of time, I absolutely loved it.

So naturally, when she finished college, she wanted to find a way to stay connected with the kids she had been helping. “I sent an email to Richard in 2014 and we hit it off, soon after I got the green light to start my program,” she remembered. “I had a huge launch,” she laughed. “I had 20 kids and even more volunteers with Richard coming and it was amazing!”

As she launched her program, Sara didn’t want to stop there. “I stayed close with Richard and started doing more things like helping with building the curriculum, creating the Program Director application or developing training materials,” she said enthusiastically. 

As time went on, the role of Regional Program Director came up as a new position to help support Program Directors around the country. “Five years later and I’m doing it,” she rejoiced.  

As she passed the program to Emma Famili in 2019, she trained her as her co-Program Director before that on the administrative side of running the program, how to recruit volunteers and participants and communications. “She really didn’t need much training, she had the tennis and autism experience, plus the connections in both communities, so it was easy,” she remembered fondly. 

Once the program was in good hands, she wanted to continue her involvement and being Regional Program Director was perfect for her. “I love ACEing Autism!” she shouted as she talked about what keeps her going. 

Sara, who works full time as a consultant for startups and nonprofits organizations in operations, leaves us with a few words for those who might be thinking of joining ACEing Autism. “Have fun with it! It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding!”

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