Fishing raises funds for autism programs

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A Middle Village-based autism advocacy group hosted a fundraising fishing tournament and raffle that reeled in more than $350.

Play4Autism, which seeks to engage children with autism in various sports activities, organized the tournament together with Pat’s Sports Bar on August 4, to fund events through the year for kids with the disorder.

“Everybody had fun and understood what the program is about,” said Greg Vasicek, founder of the organization. “The whole object is to bring the community together and to help the children.”

The tournament was held on a boat named The Captains’ Lady, which traveled from the Sheepshead Bay Piers in Brooklyn to the Atlantic Ocean. There the competitors fished for fluke, sea bass and porgies.

The event had 18 competitors from Middle Village, who caught more than 75 fish combined. Adam Gellerstein, who caught the first fish, and Bill Bornhoeft, who snagged the longest fish– a fluke at 22 inches—received $50 cash rewards.

Following the fishing tournament, Pat’s Sports Bar in Middle Village hosted the raffle, which featured a new Coors Light Mountain Bike.

Adam also caught a baby shark.









About one in 88 children is affected by autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disorder impairs a person’s ability to communicate and form relationships and so far there is no known cure.

Throughout the year Play4Autism creates activities such as street hockey, basketball and even Tiger Schulmann’s Karate lessons so they can interact and make friends. The group also sponsors music lessons and arts and craft activities, and is seeking to add acting and science lessons as well.

Play4Autism’s events are mostly funded through donations and fundraisers such as the fishing tournament and other sports events. “People relate to recreational activities,” Vasicek said. “They understand that and everybody enjoys themselves.”




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