2nd Annual Rock the Mat

43974184_1575902100137670_r.jpegOn Dec 29th, 2019 at West Shamokin High School the Elderton Youth Wrestling team will be holding it's 2nd annual "Rock the Mat" for autism youth wrestling tournament. Representatives from the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania our given the opportunity to educate, advocate, fellowship, connect, and care for families that are impacted by Autism.  Last year 8 wrestlers on the Autism spectrum were recognized when  Autism Connection of Pennsylvania's Executive Director  Lu Randall(Above 3rd from right) asked if any wrestlers on the spectrum would care to step forward.  

The Tournament is comprised of 6 Divisions and custom Rock the Mat metals will be awarded for those who place 1st-4th within their bracket.  Information tables and resources are provided regarding ASD as well as the opportunity for people to connect with affiliates from Autism Connection of Pennsylvania.

The event is a large undertaking and that undertaking takes funding, with your help we are able to continue our mission.

Elderton youth wrestling has partnered with The Autism Connection of Pennsylvania.  We are excited and proud to be sponsoring our 2nd annual Rock the Mat for Autism youth wrestling tournament. The tournament has several mission minded layers.

1. It is a youth sporting event with a cause and purpose, the kids are wrestling for a greater cause than simply a trophy.

2. It is an outreach for awareness, advocacy, and resources for those on the spectrum, those unaware of the disorder, and those who may be on the spectrum and not diagnosed.

3. We are teaching our youth how to serve others through kindness, compassion, and love.

4. 8 wrestlers that competed last year came forward to reveal their diagnosis of autism

5. Elderton's team now has 5 children on the Autism spectrum competing on our team. Children on the spectrum often feel isolated and excluded. Youth wrestling gives these children a sense of inclusion, helps build social relationships, and the sport itself is great for building confidence while teaching mental skills and character that can be applied of the mat throughout the child's entire life.

6. The proceeds go to non profit Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. Those monies are poured directly back into our communities in the form of education, training, advocacy, and medical/mental/physical support networks.

This event hold's a special place in Darcie(My wife), Cruz(Our youngest son) and my heart.It is named in honor of our son Rocko who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5.

The Elderton Youth Wrestling program lead by Zack Reefer(2nd generation coach), has embraced our family and partnered with us to make a difference in a bigger way than a youth sports program.

Last year we were able to donate $4,000 to Autism Connection of PA.  That money went to the following:

Over 440 local law enforcement officers were train in recognizing traits and characteristics of people on the spectrum.  Kelly Frey of WTAE is quote saying "This program will save lives"

2000 + students were assembled in local Western Pennsylvania Schools to experience the sensory aspect that someone on the spectrum experiences.  That demonstration is coupled with an Anit-Bullying message.  Children on the Autism Spectrum our 63% more likely to be a target of bullying.

The Daily Grind-On average AC of PA has over 140 intakes per month including adults and children. Advocacy, New Diagnosis, Mental Health Care, Medical Care, Suicide prevention, Life Planning, Job placement, Housing assistance, and feeding those in need.

Attached is our flyer, newsletter, and sponsorship letter. Please consider partnering with us and help us make a difference in the lives of local families.

What is Autism:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range-of-conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for
Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.
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Timothy Buffone 
Elderton, PA
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