If you've been wondering how to support Autism Awareness in NJ, it's as easy as checking out a ballgame this weekend. There's also chances to get out this spring and swim, bike or walk to raise funds and public perception of autism.

These are great opportunities to get the family in action, whether it's a very personal cause or something you've wanted to learn more about. So, here's a calendar of ways to  get moving to support autism research and awareness this season:


Strike Out Autism Challenge — Monmouth & Ocean Counties 
Saturday, April 16

This annual fundraiser by the Central Regional Autism Awareness Club has grown to involve nearly 50 high school varsity baseball and softball teams. The day unfolds at 10 sites throughout Ocean and Monmouth, including its birthplace, Central Regional High School in Bayville. There it includes a carnival at Veterans Park with food, music, bounce houses, face painting, petting zoo and more.

Games are also played at Toms River High School South, Jackson Liberty High School, Pt. Pleasant Boro High School, Wall High School (Wall Municipal Complex), Raritan High School, Howell High School, Red Bank Catholic (Count Basie Field), St. John Vianney High School, and Ocean Township High School.


POAC Walk for a Difference — 8 locations across NJ, throughout Spring
Saturday, April 16 — South Jersey Walk For A Difference (Manahawkin)

POAC Autism Services is the largest provider of free autism training and education in New Jersey. The nonprofit organization serves families, as well as first responders statewide.

There's a total of 8 walks this season, two of them this weekend. For each, registration starts at 11 a.m. and the walk steps off at noon. Each event also will include resource fairs, rides, food, characters and entertainment.

The South Jersey walk is Saturday (April 16) at Southern Regional High School. Sunday (April 17) is the POAC walk at Woodbridge.

Another big one is the POAC walk at FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws on Saturday, April 23. Rounding out the schedule are POAC walks in Roselle, Clifton, Ewing, Sayreville and Garfield.


Autism Awareness Swim-A-Thon — MRESC Aquatics & Fitness Center (Parlin)

Saturday, April 23 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

NJ can support Autism Awareness through biking, swimming & walking this Spring (Jupiterimages, ThinkStock)

Swim-a-thon participants at the family geared event will collect pledges from sponsors, based on the laps they complete. For those in the family not swimming laps, the center's "lazy river" will be open. All proceeds will go to Autism NJ.


Shore Walk for a Brighter Tomorrow  Seaside Park Boardwalk

Saturday, May 7 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

NJ can support Autism Awareness through biking, swimming & walking this Spring (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media)
This Saturday in May 'on the boards' will benefit the Autism Family Services of NJ. Aside from the walk itself, festivities will include face painting, musical entertainment, information exhibits, and more.
Participants are encouraged to use an online fundraising tool to help support low-cost quality services for Jersey families living with developmental disabilities.

Autism Speaks walk (South Jersey) 0ù Bishops Gate Corporate Center (Mt. Laurel)

Sunday, May 15 (activities begin 11 a.m., walk starts at 1 p.m.)

Walk to help raise funds to support vital research and programs that are changing the future for those who struggle with autism. The day in Mt. Laurel will include special guest speaker, Kerry Magro, a performance by Ecoman and more. There's no registration fee to take part.

Autism Speaks works to fund research into causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocating for  individuals with autism and their families.


Pedal for the Puzzle bike ride - Somerset Hills Learning Institute (Bedminster)

Saturday, May 21 (7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Cyclists of all levels can opt for a 10, 25 or 50-mile route. There's also a Children’s Bike Rodeo. The kids are led by Pedal for the Puzzle Cowboy and Cowgirl Rustlers, across a short course to earn a silver star and balloon.

Donations from Pedal for the Puzzle go to two non-profits, the Somerset Hills Learning Institute and Autism New Jersey.


Autism Speaks Walk (North Jersey) — MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford)

Sunday, May 22 (11 a.m. check-in, walk starts at 1 p.m.)

NJ can support Autism Awareness through biking, swimming & walking this Spring (Dave Polaski, Townsquare Media)

There's no registration fee to take part.  The day at MetLife Stadium will include a community resource fair and other activities, ahead of the walk itself.

Autism Speaks works to fund research into causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocating for  individuals with autism and their families.


Ride For Autism — Brookdale Community College  (Lincroft)

 Saturday, June 11 (registration starts 6:30 a.m., rolling start times for distances)

NJ can support Autism Awareness through biking, swimming & walking this Spring (via Autism NJ)

This one-day charity bicycle tour raises funds for Autism New Jersey and also boosts community awareness about autism. Participants choose from five routes, ranging in length from 10 to 100 miles. All riders start and finish at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. It's become a popular annual event, involving between 500 and 800 riders.


Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.