The Educational Services Commission of New Jersey Aquatics & Fitness Center’s annual fundraiser on behalf of Autism New Jersey has led the way in raising funds the past two years, and this year’s effort promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Held in conjunction with National Autism Awareness Month, the Fifth Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 at the ESCNJ Aquatics & Fitness Center, 333 Cheesequake Road, Parlin.

All proceeds go to Autism New Jersey, the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Sign Up for E-News

The event raised a record-breaking $14,500 last year — a figure that ESCNJ’s Aquatics & Fitness Center Site Director Katelyn Dauphinee is determined to exceed. She has enlisted additional support from representatives at four ESCNJ schools that provide services to students with autism.  

“It will be a fun-filled, family-friendly experience,” said Dauphinee. “We’re looking forward to a great event that is bigger than past years, and hope to donate even more to Autism NJ.

The day will feature a swim-a-thon, where swimmers collect pledges from sponsors based on the number of laps completed. In addition, kids of all ages can enjoy an open swim in the activity pool, arts and crafts, games, a bounce house, and an obstacle course. There will also be a vendor fair, “drive-in” movie, and an assortment of food and beverages.

 Autism T-shirts, along with customized apparel will also be available, and orders can be placed in advance at www.booster.com/GrowingAcceptance.

The ESCNJ Aquatics & Fitness Center is part of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey, which operates six schools with services for students age 3 to 21 with autism, multiple disabilities and at-risk behaviors, in addition to offering shared services to special education students statewide.