According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is found in 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
When it comes to local advocacy regarding autism, count Justin Resnick as one of the leading proponents. Ever since he founded the annual Alley Oop for Autism event when he was a Jericho High School junior a dozen years ago, he’s helped to raise nearly $1 million in total funds. An avid hoops fan who went on to play basketball at Emory University, Resnick went on to become an associate at Houlihan Lokey, a leading middle-market investment bank. Regardless of whatever personal success he’s experienced, the Alley Oop for Autism founder never ceases to be impressed by the support for his cause that he’s received over the years.
“I continue to be amazed by the enthusiastic outpouring of community support for this event,” he said. “[Since Alley Oop for Austism was founded], we are proud to say that we have been able to make a tangible difference in the lives of children and families dealing with autism. I am extremely grateful for all of the money, time and effort invested by everyone who has been involved with the event over the past 12 years.”
Life’s WORC/Family Center For Autism assistant executive director Matt Zebatto echoes Resnick’s sentiments in addition to lauding the commitment of the latter.
“The dynamics for this occasion and the way it comes together is an excellent model that demonstrates how charity and giving can ignite and gain momentum to benefit many. Justin Resnick deserves recognition for the unique legacy he has provided through Jericho High School,” Zebatto said.
The most recent Alley Oop for Autism event was held at Jericho High School. More than 1,000 people from across Long Island participated in hitting the hardwood from noon to 6:30 p.m. Spectators paid $5 to attend, while three-to-five person teams paid $40 per player to compete in a minimum of three 10-minute games. The multitude of teams included both boys and girls divisions ranging from small children to adults.
Resnick also heads up a formidable team that ensures Alley Oop for Autism happens every year. His committee includes sister Marissa, who is a former Emory University basketball player and current special education teacher; mom Lauren, who owns an early intervention agency, Up Wee Grow, Inc; his father Peter, who is president of Interboro Insurance Company and northeast regional sales director of UPC Insurance Company; Joel and Debbie Levine, staunch community advocates for children with autism and parents of Corey, Jamie, and Emily, along with students from Long Island and Queens.
A number of professional athletes and other sports celebrities have made appearances at past events. They include ESPN analyst Adam Schefter, former NBA star and current MSG studio analyst Wally Szczerbiak, former NFL star and current CBS radio host and NFL color commentator Boomer Esiason and New York Giants football star Jay Bromley. This year’s special guest was Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer and WNBA icon Sue Wicks.
To date, approximately $980,000 has been raised through this exciting community grassroots event. “We are proud to say that Alley Oop For Autism is on track to pass the $1 million mark this year,” Resnick said.
Visit www.alleyoopforautism.org to learn more about Alley Oop for Autism.