PARLIN – Donations are still coming in, but organizers are already proclaiming the seventh-annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play, held May 4, as a smashing success, with more than $11,300 raised and more participants than ever.

The annual event at the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey’s Aquatics & Fitness Center, 333 Cheesequake Road, in Parlin, brought together nearly 200 participants dedicated to spreading Autism awareness.

It also raised critical funds for the Autism community, directly supporting Autism New Jersey, a statewide, non-profit resource that provides essential information, advocacy and support to children and their families.

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“With so many people here, it made for a great social experience for the many of our students who attended,” said Katelyn Dauphinee, Site Director at the Aquatics & Fitness Center. “We had great table vendors, and there was plenty of fun for our students over the three hours. We also got to meet with many members of the public who participated and really added to the day.”

The event is a family-friendly fun time and an ideal marketing venue for sponsors and exhibitors. Swim & Play participants raise money for Autism New Jersey by swimming laps, while others enjoy playtime in the activity pool or other fun events that are being planned, such as arts and crafts.

Dauphinee was pleased to announce the winners: The winning participant was John Thompson, at 100 laps, whose wife, Teri, is a staff member at Piscataway Regional Day School. Other winners were Nicole Cornley, a teacher at Bright Beginning Learning Center, and Daniel Grothues, a teacher at the Center for Lifelong Learning, who both completed 50 laps.

One hundred percent of the proceeds are donated to Autism New Jersey. Supporters can still donate to the cause by emailing Dauphinee at kdauphinee@escnj.us. Learn more about the event at www.theaquaticscenter.com/autismawareness