HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Members of the Hillsborough UNICO chapter joined forces with the Organization for Autism Research NJ for their first annual golf outing fundraiser last month at the Hillsborough Golf and Country Club.
Over 60 golfers, 40 sponsors and dozens of gifts donated from local businesses rounded out the successful event. Prizes were awarded for closest to the green, longest drive, lowest overall foursome score and the putting contest.
The outing also was a celebration for the growing chapter.
“I am proud to say that the membership of Hillsborough’s UNICO Chapter has more than doubled in the past eighteen months,” said Nate Santaromita, Hillsborough UNICO president.
“Based on our growth, we have the ability to expand our reach into our community, promoting Italian heritage and culture, providing higher education scholarships and assisting charitable scientific and educational projects,” he added.
Hillsborough UNICO donated a portion of the proceeds from the outing to the Organization for Autism Research.
The name UNICO was selected as best representing the nature and the character of this fledgling organization. The name is the Italian word for unique, one of a kind. The founders believed that UNICO would be the only one of its kind because it placed service to the community before and above fraternity. At the same time they hoped that the rest of society would come to know and understand the real contributions of Italian Americans to our way of life. Its sole purpose was to unite all Italian Americans and motivate them to become more civic minded. In order to accomplish this, members would have to understand that they would have to make sacrifices, not for personal gain, but for service to others.
In the ensuing years UNICO became an acronym that stood for Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity, and Opportunity.
Each year, the UNICO Foundation and UNICO chapters donate approximately $1 million to various charities. Scholarships continue to be the primary focus, as roughly one-third of all monies raised goes to deserving students from chapter locations throughout the chain.
The organization strives to use science to address the social, educational, and treatment concerns of self-advocates, parents, autism professionals, and caregivers. The mission of “applying” research to answer questions of daily concern to those living with autism defines our goals and program objectives and shapes our budget.
In addition to funding research, OAR's mission includes:
Disseminate new and useful information to as many members of the autism community as possible, and direct all research and programs initiatives toward enhancing the quality of life for individuals with autism.
In simplest terms, applied autism research is “practical research that examines issues and challenges that children and adults with autism and their families face every day.”