#TeamNECC is our hashtag for all the teams who participate in events to support autism education, research, and NECC, from small road races to local spelling bees to international marathons.

Each year a small group of athletes and fundraisers commits to joining #TeamNECC to run the Boston Marathon and raise $10,000 each. John Hancock, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon, donates hundreds of entries each year to select non-profit organizations through their Marathon Non-Profit Program. NECC is fortunate to receive four bib numbers this year.

These four women collectively raised more than $44,500 for the NECC Annual Fund by fundraising and running the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Meet Alison Szalwinski

Alison is one half of an amazing sister running team, a snowboarding enthusiast, and Assistant Director at The National Bureau of Asian Research in Washington, D.C. She has been running since she graduated from college six years ago. The Boston Marathon will be her second marathon! She first learned about NECC when her sister Julia (see below) was a Cooperative Learning intern atalison NECC. While Ali is the only non-local member of #TeamNECC, she has been spreading the word about NECC all over D.C. while she trains and fund raises.

“Because of the geographic distance, most people here – even those who work in a related field – aren’t familiar with NECC so it is important to highlight NECC as an organization as well as the children who go there to raise awareness in a new community.”

All our marathon runners are tasked with raising a significant amount of money for NECC’s Annual Fund, and it takes a village to raise this money. One of her biggest challenges this marathon training season has been asking friends and family for help in fundraising. She says, “the running is something I can do on my own, but fundraising really is a group effort! Those around me have been so supportive in helping put together events and getting the word out, but it was a hard first step to realize I can’t do it alone.”

Ali’s favorite moment while training was running with Julia in Vail, Colorado. “We knew running at an altitude was going to be a challenge, but we had a blast running as the sun came up and it snowed lightly on us.”


Meet Julia Szalwinski

Julia is the second half of our amazing sister team, a self-proclaimed “Queen of Everything” at NECC (or, Professional Development and Graduate Studies Administrative Coordinator), and lover of all things outdoors!

juliaThe 2017 Boston Marathon will be Julia’s first marathon, though she is no stranger to running. She ran cross country and track in high school, and began running 15 years ago with her dad. “Up to this point, my longest run has been 16 miles. The elements have played a role in how comfortable those long runs have been. Training in the winter presents its own challenges. Running through the cold and snow is something I usually avoid, but that is not possible right now.  Sometimes it’s so cold you can’t feel any aches and pains though, so there’s always a silver lining!”

Julia is also committed to raising $11,000 for NECC students, many of whom she knows and used to teach. She worked directly with students for three years before moving into an administrative role.

“Those were the most difficult and most rewarding three years I’ve experienced. Since moving to a more administrative position, I still feel passionately about advocating for the students here, and this has been a great outlet for me to be able to disseminate my passion to my family, friends and community. The students here deserve the best, and this is a way I can make a difference and give them some of the things I know they deserve.”



Meet Hannah Krueger

A recent graduate of Stonehill College, Hopkinton native, and resident and Level 2 Teacher for the “beautiful boys of Apartment 2” at NECC, Hannah hannahworks long and difficult hours as a teacher in our Staff Intensive Unit. She is also enrolled in one of NECC’s graduate programs. Balancing work, school, running, and fundraising has proven to be a difficult task, but thankfully she has mastered the art of studying on the treadmill! Hannah would do anything for her students:

“I would run to the ends of the Earth for my students if I could make the work a little easier and the joy just a little bit greater. I would do anything to give back to these students a fraction of what they have given to me over the past 9 months.”

Training for the Boston Marathon means running through some of the worst weather Massachusetts has to offer, but it is a necessary part of the process. Hannah says “each week when my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, it’s still dark outside, and the temperature has barely reached 20, I contemplate pulling the covers over my head and hitting snooze… but only for a split second, because then I think of my students. I think about how hard they work every day, how much effort they put into everything they do, how much joy they provide to everyone around them, and how much love they have to give, and I realize ‘this is nothing.’”

Though Hannah has not always considered herself a runner, having just caught the “running bug” in college, she is no stranger to the Boston Marathon.

“The Boston Marathon is so much more than just a race; it is a part of my history, growing up in Hopkinton. This year, when I am standing in the corral on Main Street in Hopkinton, I am going to see where I have stood for the past 20 years, and I am going to be on the other side of the gate. That exact moment is what I am most excited about during this marathon season.”


Meet Ashley DeRoy

Ashley is  a 5th grade teacher in Holliston, MA who loves running and reading mystery novels whenever she has a chance!

julia-ashely-hannahAshley is no stranger to running – she has several half-marathons, obstacle races, and lots of 5K Races (including the NECC 5K!) under her belt, but this is her first marathon. She is most excited for the moment she crosses the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street. As a teacher, Ashley is always striving to set the best example for her students.

“I’m continually teaching my students about facing and overcoming challenges, and I always want to be a role model for my students. Being a part of this great team will allow me to model this for my students and demonstrate the importance of both perseverance and teamwork as NECC continues to show and the students of NECC continue to demonstrate.”

The training season has been tough on Ashley, and her biggest challenge so far has been staying healthy from the sickness of the winter. However, attending weekly training runs on Saturday with other members of #TeamNECC and the Marathon Coalition has been a great motivator.“When we complete our long run together, I run farther than I have ever in my life and I feel this awesome sense of accomplishment!”

Ashley has raised over $10,500 for NECC already, and we are so thankful for her support and dedication.

“ I am running for all students who work hard every day at NECC to learn communication, social skills, and academics. I want others to continue to see the progress and hard work that each student makes each day.”