Pirates held their eager audience captive as they dueled for
treasures at Parent's of Autistic Children's Annual Pirates and Princesses event, held at Windward
Beach this weekend.
The concept of the idea was to provide a fun day out for families and children affected by autism.
Both children and parents who attended the event were encouraged to
dress up for the day while enjoying carnival rides, barbecue food, and
performances by the Valhalla Pirates.
"It means so much for a family to come out and just be accepted," POAC director Gary Weitzem said of the event.
According to Weitzem, the organization is the largest in the state, holding more than 200 events per year.
POAC, or Parents of Autistic Children, is a non-profit organization
based in Brick Township that is dedicated to providing free,
educational services and social events for autistic children and their
families within the state of New Jersey.
Weitzem, whose eldest son has autism, said POAC is like one big family.
"I look out there and I feel that every single one is a relative of mine
and I know they feel that way about each other, Weitzem said.
He said POAC is a community that works together to make each child affected by autism rise to his or hers fullest potential.
Since they are a privately funded organization, they completely rely on fundraisers and donations.
The average donation is typically around $25.
Besides providing services for families, POAC also provides practical
training for teachers and first responders so they can confidently work
with autistic children.
"We're the largest provider of training on autism for teachers and families, law enforcement, and fire fighters," Weitzem said.
According to Weitzem, the skills that POAC teaches to first responder
have been credited to saving the lives of dozens of autistic children in
If you would like to know more about POAC you can visit their website at www.POAC.net .