Giving Back

YMCA Raises Money to Support Recreational Program for Children With Autism

Andrew Larkey, of Bridgewater, sells refreshments. Credits: Somerset County YMCA
Credits: Somerset County YMCA

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The Somerset Hills YMCA, part of the Somerset County YMCA, hosted its seventh annual swim fundraiser to support Saturdays in Motion, a recreational program that benefits children with autism and their families.

The funds raised through the program help the YMCA hold mission-based programs like Saturdays in Motion.

Each year, Art Raynes, of Basking Ridge - the man who founded the program in 1991 -  recruits three volunteers in their junior year of high school, according to a release. This year, those recruited were Ryan Buchser, of Chatham; Ravesh Koul, of Basking Ridge; and Mary Laurita, of Mendham.

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"Watching these students take the lead on this event is incredibly rewarding," Raynes said in the release. "They gain an appreciation for the hard work involved in pulling off a successful event for a great cause."

More than 100 participants swam laps and raced against members of Columbia University and the Somerset Hills YMCA's swim teams, the release said.

"We were very lucky to have Columbia swimmers and former fundraiser co-chair Celia Frick and her teammate Christina Ray with us," Raynes said in the release. "Their mid-terms were the following day and they took time out to teach kids basic swimming skills. Many of the younger swimmers see them as role models."

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