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Player’s Perspective: Colgate University’s Autism Awareness Project

February 2, 2012 2 comments

The two posts below were written by Caroline and Taylor, members of Colgate University’s Women’s Hockey TeamThe team’s Autism Awareness Project will be on Friday, February 3 at 7pm.  For more information or to make a donation, visit www.colgate.edu/autism.  

As our Autism Awareness game has been fast approaching, we have grown more and more excited by the second. As a sophomore, I have witnessed the first year of our autism project, and have even higher expectations for this year. Every time I see a friend, classmate, or another athlete, I ask them if they will be attending the game. Every response is alongthe lines of, “Of course! Our whole team is coming.” It is such an amazing feeling to hear such words, because we know that the whole community is behind us with this project. Ever since my freshman year at Choate Rosemary Hall, I have been involved with autism. During the month of January and February, my Choate hockey team would skate with mentally handicapped kids every Sunday, including kids with the brain disorder, autism. I became incredibly close with a boy named David. He had a huge heart and he would always tell me stories about his teams, his family, and how we were going to win the championship hockey game. When I graduated Choate, I was sad to leave such an eye-opening project, but I was quickly uplifted when my coach, Scott Wiley, announced our autism project for 2011. Coach Wiley designed this project in honor of Kati Williams, a local teenager from Norwich, who has been an avid fan of Colgate Women’s hockey for several years and now works as the team manager. She and her family have had a huge impact on our team. Last year’s project allowed us to cross paths with Christian Mast, an 11 year old boy who has autism, but also the biggest heart I know. He and his family have grown a part of our team, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.   -Caroline Potolicchio, Sophomore, #2

Caroline & Taylor: Members of Colgate University's Women's Hockey Team

Caroline & Taylor: Members of Colgate University's Women's Hockey Team

Before even coming to Colgate, I had already heard wonderful reports about the success of the Autism Awareness game last year. With the game fast approaching it has been fun to be apart of all of the excitement and commotion I am excited to see all of our hard work pay off this coming Friday. I am so thankful to be a part of such a great team that truly cares for a bigger cause. Just this past weekend when we were on a road trip, a St. Lawrence parent approached me, because she wanted us to know her gratitude to what we were doing for autism. She explained that the biggest problem with this disorder is that a lot of people are not educated that it even exists or that they could potential be diagnosed with it. She stated how our game and the publicity that it receives could be responsible for changing someone’s life. I can contest to this first hand, because our biggest fan is eleven-year-old Autistic boy. Just the way that Christian lights up when he comes to a game to see us, makes all of our efforts and time worth while. I am very excited to see the jerseys that Christian designed for our game, and I am thankful that I have been able to be a part of spreading autism awareness.  -Taylor Craig, Freshman, #5

For more information on Colgate University’s Autism Awareness Project or to make a donation, visit www.colgate.edu/autism.  

Colgate University’s Autism Awareness Project

January 30, 2012 1 comment

This blog post was written by Erin Mast, the Chair for the Central New York Walk Now for Autism Speaks. She is an active member of the autism community and a mother of three boys. Erin and her family have cultivated a wonderful relationship with Colgate University’s Women’s Hockey team. For details about Colgate’s Autism Awarenss Project or to make a donation, visit www.colgate.edu/autism.

If you are reading this blog, then most likely you have some connection to autism. I have two wonderful boys, who happen to be on the spectrum. I also chair the Central New York Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Through my volunteer efforts, I was lucky enough to be involved with the first ever Autism Awareness Event at Colgate University, hosted by the women’s ice hockey team in 2011. On February 3 and the 4, the team is hosting their second event. They are planning amazing things and making such a huge difference to the members of their community. But, more importantly than that, they are changing the lives of people with autism. They are blessed with a wonderful manager, Kati, who is a huge part of the team. Kati has autism. But, it has gone further than that. My son Christian went along with me last year and it has honestly changed his life. He is now playing ice hockey with the Rochester Ice Cats, who are a member of the American Special Hockey Association. Christian was also asked to design the jerseys for the Colgate games throughout the weekend, which he did happily. The jerseys will be worn for two games and then auctioned off, the proceeds being donated to Autism Speaks and other local autism charities

If you would have asked me if an ice hockey program could have changed my life, I would have said, “Absolutely not.” How wrong I would have been. Please take a moment to check out all that the ladies at Colgate University are doing to make a difference in the autism community by going to http://colgate.edu/autism. Support the team and all their efforts! Better yet, join us at Starr Rink on Friday, February 3 at 7:00 pm. Their goal is to break last year’s record by having 1200 fans. Wear blue and get in for free!

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