Number of Participants: 27
Hours Donated: 9
Value of Time Served: $2,053
Event Type: Children & Youth
School: Southampton High School
Date: May 26, 2021
The mission of the Flying Point Foundation for Autism is to create and support programs and services that enrich the lives of those on the autism spectrum, particularly on the East End, and to also raise public awareness and understanding of autism, especially among the peers of children who have been diagnosed with the disorder.
The Southampton baseball and softball programs took the foundation’s mission to heart this past Friday by wearing brand new jerseys that helped support Flying Point’s cause. The colorful uniforms featured the autism puzzle pieces — which reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum and the diversity of the people and families living with the condition — on the sleeves and bottom portions of the shirts, with the Flying Point Foundation for Autism logo centered on the back.
Southampton varsity baseball assistant coach Nick Epley, who is on the board of directors for Flying Point, said that board president Kerry Ann O’Connell came up with the idea for the baseball and softball teams to wear the jerseys after seeing the field hockey team wear pink for breast cancer awareness month in October. The original idea was that the baseball and softball teams would wear the jerseys in April, being that it’s autism awareness month, but the high school spring sports season was pushed deeper into the spring due to the pandemic.
Flying Point donated the jerseys to the two programs, but the teams paid them back by holding numerous fundraisers over the past few weeks. The baseball team had a lemonade stand set up over a few Saturdays in front of the Southampton Arts Center in Southampton Village, while the softball team raised funds through numerous social media efforts. Together, they raised over $3,300 dollars.
“It was a great event,” Southampton varsity softball head coach Tania Ciancio said. “This hits home for me being that I am a life skills teacher here in Southampton and work with students who are on the spectrum.”
Although both the baseball and softball teams lost their respective games on Friday, both Ciancio and varsity baseball head coach Zach Epley, Nick’s brother, said they felt they saw an extra oomph out of their players. Steven Krasewski reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with the only hits the Mariners had on the day and also drew a pair of walks. He also pitched four innings of shut out ball before Elwood/John Glenn scored three runs in the fifth to break a scoreless tie.
The goal, Nick Epley said, is to make use of the Flying Point uniforms on an annual basis and hopefully get some of the other athletic programs in the mix to help spread awareness and understanding even more throughout the school system.