During this season of gratitude, I would like to give thanks to all the volunteers, parents, program directors, staff, and board members that come together to make ACEing Autism a reality each week. I am fortunate to witness so many people helping others through our program – sometimes volunteers as young as eleven years old teaching tennis to a child with autism! The goal of our tennis program has always been to help children with autism improve their fitness, hand-eye coordination and social skills, and each day as those goals are met I am reminded of just how much tennis can change lives… Not only our participants with autism, but also the volunteers who are able to work with and learn from these amazing children and families.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our many individual donors as well as the organizations that provide us with grant support, such as the Flutie Foundation, ATP, and the USTA.
I am also incredibly grateful for our tennis equipment sponsor, Head Penn, for their continued support and commitment to our programs and our mission. For the past three years Head Penn has supplied our programs with tennis racquets, nets, balls, and hoppers, fully equipping more than 25 programs nationwide.
We are very grateful that Cliff Drysdale Tennis chose ACEing Autism as the beneficiary of the CopperWynd Women’s Pro Challenger earlier this month. This USTA pro circuit event yielded an impressive attendance of 2,500 spectators, a singles draw of 32 players and a doubles draw of 16 teams. ACEing Autism conducted two free clinics for children with autism during the weeklong event. Alex Huggan, our CMO, served as the head of Public Relations for the event and demonstrated his unique talents in generating coverage, photography and filmmaking, capturing the true essence of this special event in photographs and film. The money raised from this tournament will be used to establish a weekly program at the resort in January 2017.
NEW SITE LAUNCHES
Our organization is taking great strides to connect children through tennis! In October we launched a new program in Glenview, IL. In 2017 we will introduce ACEing Autism to several new cities, including Scottsdale, AZ, Columbus, OH, Williamsburg, VA, Naples, FL, Baltimore, MD, Yorba Linda, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Winston Salem, NC, Dallas, TX and Syracuse, NY. We are incredibly appreciative of those individuals that have facilitated this rapid expansion. We are excited to be one step closer to our goal of serving 1,000 children by 2018!
Next month we will kick off ACEing Autism’s end of year fundraising initiative to support our programs. To show our gratitude for those who help fund our mission and make tennis accessible to children with autism, incentives will be given to all donors regardless of the amount. Proceeds will go toward operating costs which include visual schedules, swing t-stands and t-shirts for our participants. All donations can be made here! Please take a moment to consider helping a child with autism learn tennis.
$0 – $50: ACEing Autism Pen and Drawstring Bag
$50 – $100: ACEing Autism T-shirt and Pen
$150 or more: ACEing Autism Donor Package
PARENT AND VOLUNTEER ESSAY CONTEST
We love to hear about how ACEing Autism has helped children and families. This month’s newsletter will introduce our first parent/volunteer essay contests. We encourage parents and volunteers to submit a brief story of their experiences with ACEing Autism. Two essays (one volunteer and one parent) will be selected by a committee to be featured in the upcoming newsletter. Contest winners will be invited to join us in New York at the US OPEN for our clinic in Flushing Meadows in August 2017. Please submit your essay by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (deadline is May 15, 2017)
West Hollywood Disabilities Service Award
ACEing Autism was a recipient of the Non-Profit Service Award at West Hollywood’s 2016 Disability Service awards. The ceremony was a part of the city’s observance of Disability Awareness Month in October and recognized organizations that go beyond the call of duty to provide unique opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Alex, Richard, Jasmine, and Justin (pictured from left to right) were proud to receive the award and represent ACEing Autism on behalf of all the outstanding people who help the organization flourish nationwide!
USTA LTA Award
Our New Orleans program will be honored as the USTA Louisiana Tennis Association’s 2016 Program of The Year! Former Program Director, Melissa Huynh will also be recognized as Volunteer of The Year at the awards ceremony held on December 3rd in Southern Louisiana. Great Work ACEing Autism New Orleans!
ACEing Autism is the grateful recipient of two grants from the USTA, the CopperWynd Tournament Grant and the Mid-Atlantic Grant. The CopperWynd grant was awarded to assist in the launching of our Scottsdale program in January 2017 and the USTA Mid-Atlantic grant will support the launching of our programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region. We extremely appreciative of the USTA for their grants that support our mission.
Kailyn Skjonsby (Shining Program Director)
This month we’d like to recognize Kailyn Skjonsby, Program Director of our Seattle Washington program. Kailyn is a Division 1 college tennis player at Seattle University. She now is translating her passion for tennis in ACEing Autism. The success of ACEing Autism Seattle is a direct reflection of Kailyn’s belief and investment in our mission to serve children on the autism spectrum. We couldn’t be more proud to have Kailyn as our Program Director in Seattle.
Fllutie 5K Run – Framingham, MA
In early October we participated in our 8th year with a team at the flutie 5k Run. Thank you to board member, Mira Spiegel for organizing and handling the logistics for our team for the 8th year in a row! A special congrats to Zoe Spiegel who has been attending our Wayland program since 2008, for running the race in a personal best time!
ACEing Autism-Charlotte has much to be thankful for in 2016! We are thrilled to welcome new Co-Program Director, Scott Rickel, who teaches children with autism at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School and he is a certified USPTA teaching pro. Welcome Coach Scott! Our fall 2016 program recently finished with the most program participants and volunteers than any previous session, and was capped off by the very successful 2nd annual Mixed Doubles Charity Cup, raising over $2,700! Our thanks to volunteer coordinator, Margaret Redic who conceptualized and organized such a meaningful event. Thank you Margaret! In 2017 we look forward to celebrating at ACEing Autism-Charlotte’s annual winter fundraiser, Queen City Brewers Festival on Feb 4th.