Campers jump at chance to help at the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Center

12 08 2008

CLIFTON — Alex Braun, 4, usually jumps rope just for fun.

But Friday afternoon, Alex was among about 100 children ages 3 to 12 who participated in a “Jump-A-Thon” to raise money for Parents of Autistic Children, a non-profit autism advocacy group.

The children were all campers at four summer camps housed at the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Center on Scoles Avenue.

“We raised money to buy Band-Aids for the kids who have boo-boos,” Alex said.

During the event, which took place on a field near the community center, camp counselors counted how many jumps their charges could complete in 10 or 20 minutes, depending on their age. Parents and other supporters pledged to donate between 25 cents and $1 per jump.

Sarah DePeri, 10, of Clifton, said she jumped 110 times in 10 minutes. Why?

“Because we wanted to help raise money for the sick people,” she said.

Gary Weitzen, executive director of the Brick-based Parents of Autistic Children, attended the Jump-A-Thon and handed out hats and wristbands to the children.

Camp officials said they didn’t know how much money was raised Friday. Last year, the Jump-A-Thon raised $5,300.

“They all enjoyed it,” said Mike Vallila, director of YM-YWHA’s KinderCamp and K’ Ton Ton summer camps. “They had a good time.”

Alex Cabrera, 10, said he wanted to get involved because one of his close friends is autistic. His favorite part of the Jump-A-Thon?

“Falling on the floor all sweaty,” he said.

Reach Jennifer H. Cunningham at 973-569-7162 or cunningham@northjersey.com.

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