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Motorcycle club helps school children with disabilities How an Atlantic City motorcycle club helps school children with disabilities

Press of Atlantic City - 4/29/2017

ATLANTIC CITY - A local motorcycle club wanting to get more involved in the community six years ago started what has become a major annual fun day for city schoolchildren with autism and learning disabilities.

More than 400 children enjoyed bounce houses, face painting, an inflatable slide and food Friday at Shellem Royal Field for an event organized by the Atlantic City-based Gentlemen of the Shore Motorcycle Club.

"They love coming here, and when they come home, for the rest of the school year, this is all they talk about," said Dawn Acosta, a teacher at the New York Avenue School.

George Crouch, events coordinator for the 20-member motorcycle club, said the day of fun is particularly important for special-needs students who might not otherwise enjoy the same types of recreation as other children.

He said the importance of the event became obvious during its first year, when a woman with an autistic son approached him.

"She said, 'This is the first time I've seen my son smile in six months,'" he said.

Alicia Parks was at the event with his 6-year-old son, D.J., who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He climbed up an inflatable slide, slid down and then ran back to the steps as fast as he could.

"This is a nice event," she said.

Mayor Don Guardian said the best part is "being able to see kids have fun in a good, safe environment."

Contact: 609-272-7253 Twitter @bianieri


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