Photo Courtesy of Bill Ingram
Golf legend, Ernie Els and his chartable foundation announced Tuesday, March 5 their plans to build a groundbreaking center for autism right here in Jupiter, Florida. What the foundation is calling “an epicenter for autism research, transition and treatment” is sure to be of immeasurable benefit to our society!
Els and his team have put together the plans to build a $30 million charter school in the Limestone Creek area of Jupiter. The center will focus on giving children, ages 3 to 21 years old, the best quality of life when living with autism.
The plans for the revolutionary center were recently submitted to Palm Beach County. The 27-acre parcel is found just north of Indiantown Road, east of I-95 and will feature a 100,000 square foot school and resource center equipped to care for 300 students with autism. Mary Kay Wilson, the tournament director for the Ernie Els Foundation stated, “Transition programs will be available to help students move forward to adulthood.” The center will combine medical treatment with sports and activities programs, an element that separates this program from all of the others. Having so many activities and treatments in one center is the unique advantage this program has to deliver a life changing experience to children with autism and their families.
For years, Els and his wife, Liezl, have been trailblazers in fundraising for autism research. Their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism in 2008 and since then, they have dedicated nameless resources and unlimited energy to the cause. The new charter school will be open to all students in Palm Beach County and will provide an interactive setting for those with autism from the first grade all the way through high school. A spokesperson from Autism Speaks commented on the subject of elementary through high school that it “will allow students to learn easier and be more comfortable.”
Local families are incredibly excited about the new center. Representatives from Palm Beach County are expecting the program to gain national and global acknowledgment. So far, the Els Foundation has raised $15 million ($6 million personally donated by the Els family) and is hosting dozens of fundraising events to meet their $30 million goal this year. Els stated he expects to see “another $3 million raised this year from the golf events.”
You can expect to see a number of local golf events to be held here in South Florida, including one at Trump National in Jupiter (formerly known as the Jupiter Ritz Carlton). The first event is the Golf Challenge series, which will be held at the Floridian in Palm City and begins April 2nd. The second event is to be held on April 29th in Doral and the grand finale will take place at Trump National in Jupiter on September 30th. These are just a few of the local events the foundation is hosting here in Florida. Many of the others will be held across the nation.
Learn more about the events, cause and the Center for Excellence at www.elsforautism.com.