Each day I am overwhelmed with how much time and energy people dedicate to our mission. I would like to recognize some very special individuals that have given a tremendous amount of time supporting ACEing Autism’s mission. Lisa Pugliese, our Boynton Beach Program Director for the past five years, has been a true inspiration; not only does she volunteer her time each week, but she has organized a tennis pro-am event, community walks, and delivered talks on our behalf. Chris Lee, the Tennis Director at the Aberdeen Golf and Country Club, has always given his time and advocated for our program; earlier this year the tennis members at the Aberdeen Golf and Country Club donated $2,000 raised by their Color War tennis event.
Across the country, our graduating student Program Directors are going to be missed; Aditya Mantri, Atharva Padhye, Jasmine Roberts, and Tyler Chan. Best of luck to these amazing young people on their future endeavors. I cannot thank ACEing Autism’s volunteers, families, and supporters enough. Thank you for making a difference!
-Richard Spurling, Founder and CEO of ACEing Autism
The first Autism Awareness Day was April 2nd, 2008, just three months before ACEing Autism was founded. The idea for our Racquet Run was born when we imagined a fun event that would bring families together as part of Autism Awareness Month. On April 30th we tested the concept at four locations: Charlotte, Los Angeles, Stuart, Florida, and Pittsburgh. We were amazed at the turnout of over 200 participants who raised a total of $5,000 to support our programs. If you missed your chance, get your official Los Angeles Racquet Run tee shirt here!
Program Director Spotlight: Chad Periman of Stuart, Florida
ACEing Autism could not run without it’s amazing Program Directors, and Chad Periman of Stuart, Florida is one of our most valuable players. Chad says “I’m a proud father of two sons, and we have enjoyed playing tennis together since they were little. My youngest Erich has autism, and I wanted to learn more about the game and how we could share it together with others when I found ACEing Autism. This program allows our kids to become quickly engaged and gives them opportunities to develop new physical and social skills every week. Erich enjoys volunteering as a peer model now, which has helped him become more independent while learning to help others. Thank you for this wonderful program that is helping so many children expand their horizons and fulfill their true potential every day!” Thank you, Chad. We are so lucky to have you on our team.
Volunteer Spotlight: June Olsen of Palm City, Florida
Our Stuart, Florida Program Director Chad Periman couldn’t wait to nominate his Volunteer Coordinator June Olsen for this month’s Volunteer Spotlight. Chad tells us”From the beginning, June has been instrumental in helping me recruit volunteers and pair them up with the right participants every week. June is always there, and happy to take on any job that needs to be done.” June says “As a retired Speech-Language Pathologist, I absolutely love volunteering for ACEing Autism. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the volunteers, students, and families. They are all such special people and have become like a second family to me. It’s been really exciting watching the kids’ tennis and social skills develop as they participate in each session. I always leave with a smile on my face.” Thank you June, for going above and beyond for ACEing Autism!
April 2nd, Weston, FL: Program Director Erica Grub is a speech pathologist who works daily with children with ASD. Together with her son Andrew, a USTA tournament player, she wanted to bring a play-based sports program to Weston for families affected by autism. Their new program opened at The Midtown Athletic Club with a wonderful turnout of kids and volunteers. Welcome, Erica and Andrew!
May 7th, Bryn Mawr, PA: Welcome Pam Rende, who is leading our brand new program at the Shipley School! Pam has been teaching tennis for the past 25 years, and she has her own tennis coaching company, L3 Tennis. Pam connected with Richard through the Professional Tennis Registry, as she was interested in learning more about how to work with children on the spectrum. Thank you, Pam, for bringing your talent to ACEing Autism!
June 5th – Houston, TX: Our new program at The Copperfield Racquet & Health Club will open with an eight week session running until July 24th.
June 11th – Stephanie’s Day, Los Angeles CA: Join us for a day of family fun at this wonderful annual resource fair that provides families with children impacted by autism, and other special needs, a place to connect with community, gather valuable information, and enjoy fun activities! This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m – 2 p.m. at the CBS Studios, 4200 Radford Avenue, in Studio City. Parking and admission are both free.
June 25th – Ann Arbor, MI: Our new program at Huron Valley Tennis Club will launch with an eight week session running until August 13th.
July 24th – Mountaingate Country Club, Los Angeles CA: Join us for our the first annual Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament from 12– 5:00 p.m., with an exhibition featuring top retired tennis greats, guest celebrities calling the matches, and live and silent auctions. Entry fee is $100.00 per player, which includes an awards party after the tournament. For entry information please contact Kris Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 24th – Queens Day at the US Open, Flushing Meadows, NY: As part of our third year participating, ACEing Autism we will be offering a free tennis clinic for children of all ages during the qualifying rounds of the U.S. Open. Stay afterward to watch the U.S. Open qualifying matches, free of charge. Check our website for session times and registration coming soon!
ACEing Autism wishes to thank our truly generous corporate sponsors. As always, we would like to thank Tennis Channel and Head Penn for the continued support that we receive through these partnerships. During the month of April you may have seen a Court Report from Tennis Channel highlighting our Miami Open Clinic. Head Penn has supplied all of our programs with tennis equipment, and this year alone has provided tennis racquets, balls, hoppers and mini-nets to four brand new programs allowing us to serve sixty new children.