A Great Cause for the Canoeists : Row Row Row Raises Funds for Autism Programs

Revere’s Row Row Row has become one of the most anticipated events on the summer calendar since its revival three years ago after a long hiatus.

On Saturday morning rowers will leave from the Point of Points Yacht Club (POPYC) and compete in the third annual race. The day concludes with one of the great celebrations of the year, an awards and food extravaganza at Victor Molle’s popular Marina Restaurant and Bar at the Wharf.

Rowers are not only participating in a fun and friendly competition, but they are making a donation to an important cause. Row Row Row is held to benefit Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

A look at what Row Row Row has accomplished in the past year underlines the planning committee’s ongoing commitment to the cause of helping individuals with ASD, which is a developmental disability.

Stacey Livote, coordinator of the event and principal at the Revere Seacoast Academy, said last year’s Row Row Row to Revere’s proceeds went to the construction of a sensory integration gym at the Beachmont School.

“It’s a beautiful site with all kinds of sensory, motor equipment,” said Livote. “It’s just an amazing facility.”

This year, Livote said, the committee will use the proceeds to purchase two sensory walks for the Whelan Elementary School. The walks are interactive and allow children to participate in activities as they walk the path.

Row Row Row also provides monetary support to  the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and its activities such as a skating event at Easter time at the Cronin Rink, swimming lessons, and a movement class at Dance Junction in Saugus.

Row Row Row has raised more than $50,000 for the past two years, according to Livote, whose energy on the committee and for the cause is noteworthy.

“We hope to raise $25,000, which is a good goal,” said POPYC Commodore Jay Bolton, who with Vice Commodore Jill Simmons Wetmore leads a group of volunteers at POPYC, who assist in the event.

Bolton takes pride in the success of the event and the dedication of the committee to its mission.

 â€œYou have two great organizations here – obviously Stacey and the Molle family, the Yacht Club, and everybody wants to help,” said Bolton. It’s a pretty amazing event. Everyone cares so much.”

Bolton, who also serves as master of ceremonies for the event, said he will pay tribute to Victor Molle at Saturday’s event.

“Victor does an awesome job at hosting the party and making it all come together,” said Bolton. “The party is just a lot of fun with a lot of camaraderie. We raise a lot of money for this great cause.”

Added Vanessa Molle, daughter of Victor Molle and a fantastic golfer, “It really is a great cause and we enjoy having the party at the restaurant.”

Approximately 80 two-person teams will compete on a one-mile route along the Pines River. Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo and his wife, Daveen Arrigo, will be among the teams competing in the race.

The eighteen first-place finishers in the race’s nine different divisions will each receive the coveted oars at the awards ceremony.

The committee is still accepting donations for the raffle drawings. “If anyone would like to donate a basket or a gift card, they can drop it off at the Marina or the Yacht Club,” said Livote.

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, whose district includes POPYC and the Marina at the Wharf, praised Row Row organizers for raising awareness for autism and donating funds to programs for local students.

“This is a real community event and symblolizes what Revere is all about – working to help people who need assistance,” said Powers. “It’s great to see one of our outstanding school administrators [Livote] volunteer her time to this important endeavor.”

On behalf of the committee, Livote, whose son, J.J., was a star in the vaunted Everett High School football program, has took the plaudits in stride.

“If we can help support a family by paying for something like dance lessons, horseback riding lessons, or swimming lessons, that’s what we want to do,” said Livote. “We’re here for the kids.”

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