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Nothing But Net: Emory Alumnus Raises over $1 Million Dollars for Autism Awareness

Justin Resnick 12B utilizes his passion for basketball to raise awareness for autism.

By Sarah. I. Kelley 18C

Justin Resnick 12B (left) plays basketball at a recent Alley Oop for Autism event.

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About 1,000 people in the community of Jericho, New York gathered together on March 24 at Jericho Senior High School. For a town with a little under 15,000 residents, that’s saying a lot.

What may have caused such a commotion? Raising money for a good cause, a little over $1 million to be exact.

Alley Oop for Autism, created by Justin Resnick 12B, started in 2007. Resnick was a junior at Jericho Senior High School at the time. Inspired by his mother, special education teacher Lauren Resnick, and his love for basketball, Resnick decided to utilize his affinity for the sport to raise awareness for autism.

Autism is a developmental disability that appears in children within the first few years of their lives. Unfortunately, the neurological disorder renders children with difficulties communicating and learning. Alley Oop for Autism kicks off Autism Awareness Month in April.

A former member of the Emory men’s basketball team, Resnick was able to harness his love for the sport with his passion for helping others. Although a career in business has led him away from going pro in the NBA, Alley Oop for Autism offers Resnick an outlet for him to play with a purpose.

The results of Resnick’s passions? A tournament including children and adult players who compete for the cause. The fundraiser has grown over the years, averaging at about 325 participants per year. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and former New York Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley have attended Alley Oop for Autism in the past.

At this year’s 12th Annual Alley Oop for Autism, the event managed to raise about $125,000 for The Family Center for Autism in Garden City, New York and the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, New York. Both organizations work towards offering programs and services for individuals living with autism. The results of this year’s event have surpassed a total of $1.1 million raised by the event since its inception.

Justin Resnick with Kids

Along with community support, Resnick has also had help from over 250 high school students since 2007 on the Alley Oop for Autism committee. The event has grown from one high schooler’s dream to a community event helping benefit those most in need. Resnick personifies Emory’s commitment to service on not only the global level, but the local one as well. With Alley Oop for Autism, Resnick is bringing autism awareness to center court.

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