Giving Back

East Hanover Family Raises Money for Autism Awareness

The Ucci's home is ready for the walk! Credits: Mr. Vincent Ucci
Team photo before the walk last year! Credits: Mr. Vincent Ucci

EAST HANOVER, N.J. - In its third year running, the Swing for Autism! golf-outing will be held at the Hendricks Golf Course in Belleville, NJ on Monday, Oct. 2. It is an event started by East Hanover local, Mr. Vincent Ucci, to help raise money and awareness for autism.

Mr. Ucci has a ten-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with autism when she was three years old. He said, “She’s making her way,” as she functions, but just has trouble with her speech."

A few years back, his wife spoke to a friend, who has a son diagnosed with autism. and they found Autism Speaks, non-profit organization. The mission of Autism Speaks is being “dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”

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While searching through the website, they found out that Autism Speaks sponsors walks throughout the year. One of them is held in Cranford, NJ during the month of October. They created their team, Arianna’s Angels; named after Ucci’s daughter.

Three years later, Ucci’s business partner and best friend for life, Gary Bootes and Frank Oliver, owner of The Franklin Steakhouse in Fairfield, came up with the idea of hosting a golf-outing to help raise money for the walk. It is an event that grows every year. Last year totaled about 200 attendees. According to Mr. Ucci, this year will be well attended. Ucci stated that not only family, friends, and locals attend this event, but state politicians, as well.

 The Chandelier restaurant in Belleville, NJ provides a breakfast before tee-off and afternoon barbeque. It all culminates with a lunch and program at Nanina’s in the Park, also in Bellville.

Last year, over $50,000 was donated to Autism Speaks, raised at the golf-outing. This year the goals reach  to donate money to Autism Speaks, and to Arianna’s school, New Beginnings in Fairfield, NJ.

To learn more about autism or the walk, please visit Autism Speaks website. To donate to the Ucci’s team, visit  Arianna’s Angels.

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