The Ernie Els Centre for Autism South Africa Newsletter – September 2016

13 Sep

Latest news from The Ernie Els Centre for Autism SA, providing lower resourced families of children on the autism spectrum with free access to effective education for their child via e-learning programs.

1. One Heart, One Event & A Great Cause – Els for Autism
Els for Autism and Ernie Els Wines were fortunate enough to team up with the One Heart Foundation to host the first trail run and mountain bike event ever hosted at the vineyard. One Heart’s mission statement perfectly captures the experience from our event, “Run, Read, Lead: A charity that combines reading development and sport in teaching values and promoting health”. This event also afforded local organisations the opportunity to connect, with a pre-registration evening hosted on the farm the evening prior to the race, which took place on 27 August.

The trails ran through the beautiful Helderberg region, which started at Peter Falke Wines and ended at Ernie Els Wines. There was something for everyone, from 3km kids’ races to 30km mountain bike races. People ran and cycled for a good cause, with the proceeds going through the One Heart Foundation to donate (internationally renowned, CAPS aligned, SA Department of Education-endorsed) Key Links books to a handful of local special needs schools.

The day of the race was a resounding success, with hundreds of people participating in the trails and other happenings, which included children’s games, music, delicious food and of course incredible wine. The day ended with an exciting prize giving, as well as a final opportunity to spread awareness about the communities serviced by both the One Heart Foundation and The Els for Autism Foundation.

“Thank you to the incredible people from the One Heart Foundation, the hospitality of everyone at the Ernie Els Winery, and everyone who came out to support the day,” commented Shani Lits, Program Director for The Ernie Els Centre for Autism in South Africa. “May this be the start of many collaborative opportunities with organisations doing incredible work!”

For more information on the One Heart Foundation, visit the website:

2. Els for Autism Golf Days a collective success story
2016 has been so good to us! We have been fortunate enough to have had an unbelievable year filled with wonderful fundraising events and great support from many organisations and individuals. We wanted to take this opportunity to express our thanks, and in particular look back at some of the Drive to SA Open golf days, which visited wonderful venues around South Africa and have been a huge success.

Pearl Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world and our golf day there attracted a full field, sublime weather and a #GameON autism clinic that was very successful.

Pretoria Country Club hosted two events for us, with their members pulling out all the stops on both occasions! Many thanks to Atholl Dowie for helping out.

Our St Francis Bay day took place out of season, but we were blessed with a perfect day on the golf course. Thanks to a very motivated Jeff Clause.

At Randpark Golf Course we played on the new Firethorn Course and what a challenge! Craig McCloud pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone had a great time! An additional thanks to Sizwe for their huge generosity.

Ah…wonderful Oubaai, you treat us so well! Piet Pieters, as always, was unbelievable in his support for Ernie and for Els for Autism. It was a cold day, but Neels and Hettie Els (Ernie’s parents) were there and made us all warm with their presence.

At Royal Jhb, Chris Bentley was our host. James de Gouveia of People Shopping managed to get tour pro Keith Horne to join us; much appreciated guys! James also sponsored the day and a great time was had by all.

Last, but certainly not least, to Kempton Park – Ernie’s home course! Craig Bell made us all feel very welcome and as always the course was in great shape for the middle of winter.

Finally, a huge thank you to all of our sponsors for their ongoing and unwavering support: Ernie Els Wines, TaylorMade, SAP, Compleat Golfer, Golf Weather, Lions Rugby, Courier IT and Just Water. We couldn’t do this without you.

Our Drive to SA Open is nearing the end with only four events left. Thanks so much for all your support! Els for Autism golf days are now part and parcel of SA charity golf calendar, so keep checking our website and Facebook for future events.

3. Calling all Cyclists: Time is running out to join ‘Ernie’s Army’
This is the third year that Els for Autism has put forward a team in the incredible ‘Ride for a Purpose’ campaign as a part of the 947 Cycle Challenge. We are overwhelmed by the support and commitment of our 2016 team, which includes champion cyclist Jac-Louis van Wyk, Springbok legend Victor Matfield, Nico Van Rensburg of The Els Group, top golf trick-shot artist Michael Scholz and comedian Dave Levinsohn, among many esteemed participants.

Each year, cyclists are invited not only to enjoy the race, but also to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness and funding for a plethora of good causes. Els for Autism has been fortunate enough to have Michael Scholz as our custodian, leading the way for Ernie’s Army! This year, each team member will be riding to raise awareness for Els for Autism and for the wider autism community.

Riders have less than three weeks to join Ernie’s Army – so don’t wait! All you need to do is:

We look forward to seeing you on the day!


Ernie's Army Cycle Ride entry form



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