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Champions
One who overcomes challenges to be the best he or she can be.

The Champion program has been written about in Autism Awareness PDF

Derek Withers

Derek Withers

Champion

Derek was born in Berwyn and moved to England in 1999 where he attended school. He has worked at Walkers Pet Shop in Dursley, England with Mrs. Halliday cleaning bird cages; At Community Support Services with Jean cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming and taking out the rubbish; and at the Animal Care League in Oak Park, with Dennis, doing laundry, washing windows and mopping floors.

Derek's role as a Champion for the EC is to complete daily office responsibilities, including building Visual Exercise Supports to help improve the lives of children, adults and families with autism spectrum disorders. Derek also currently works at the Sisters of St. Joseph in La Grange Park in the cafeteria.

Derek has a passion for astronomy and dinosaurs.

Rachel Spidalette

Rachel Spidalette

Champion

Rachel is a student at ACACIA Academy and works as Champion for the Exercise Connection. She is featured in the EC Step-by-Step Guide to Exercise Programs for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, where she instructs the viewer on some of her favorite exercises and educates on why they are important.

Rachel has volunteered at La Grange Public Library, shelving, pricing and organizing books. As part of a work study program for ACACIA she has worked at TJ Maxx folding clothes.

Rachel has a passion for Anime and Manga. She also has a black labrador named, Fleur, who exercises with her and most importantly loves the confidence and stress relief she has after exercise.

 

Bill Bacarella

Bill Bacarella

Champion

Bill graduated from Elgin Community College with an Associate's Degree in Liberal Studies. Upon graduating from high school he did so with many honors. Bill is currently employed by Meijer's and has been for over 4 years.

Bill's role as a Champion at the Exercise Connection is to build Visual Exercise Supports and Bill will soon be featured as an Fitness Instructor on the Coach Dave show which will be aired on The Autism Channel. Bill will share many of the exercise's and techniques that have helped him improve his motor coordination, muscular strength and confidence.

Bill is a die-hard Cubs fan and baseball is his favorite sport. He plays the catcher position on his park district team each summer.

Rachel Spidalette

Anthony Angelico

Champion

Anthony has been a student his whole life and is currently a sophomore in high school. Anthony is looking forward to graduating in two years!

Anthony enjoys spending time with his family and keeps busy by doing homework, watching TV and replicating movie scenes with action figures. A two-year veteran of a weekly structured exercise program, Anthony is now currently working as a CHAMPION with Exercise Connection to assist with sales at conferences and to help educate parents and professionals about the benefits of exercise.

Noel Perez

Noel Perez

Champion

Noel is a currently a student at Giant Steps and will soon be transitioning to District 203; he is very excited. He has been working as an EC Champion since May building Visual Exercise System's. Noel enjoys his job and the most challenging part is to get him to stop working. He has built Systems for the North Suburban YMCA, Helping Hands and Miner School.

Noel also volunteers at We Grow Dreams where he is responsible for planting, transporting materials and cleaning. He assists at Giant Steps, restocking the vending machine.

Noel enjoys playing basketball, bowling and swimming. He is also a member at Edward's Health & Fitness Center where you will find him jogging on the treadmill or swimming like a pro in the pool.

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