Jocelyn and Jared Wasserman and their son, Jason Wasserman, 13, of...

Jocelyn and Jared Wasserman and their son, Jason Wasserman, 13, of Roslyn, attend the “Game on for Autism” flag football tournament in The Park at East Hills on Sunday. Credit: Howard Simmons

Inspired by his younger brother Jason, who has autism, Justin Wasserman decided to create an event where children could play flag football, while raising money for a local organization that provides programs and resources for individuals with special needs.

“I saw his passion for football, so I thought why not put together an event that other kids will enjoy just as much as he does,” Justin Wasserman, 15, said.

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Inspired by his younger brother Jason, who has autism, Justin Wasserman decided to create an event where children could play flag football, while raising money for a local organization that provides programs and resources for individuals with special needs.

“I saw his passion for football, so I thought why not put together an event that other kids will enjoy just as much as he does,” Justin Wasserman, 15, said.

The inaugural Flag Football “Game on for Autism” tournament brought more than 300 children to The Park at East Hills on Sunday to participate in a day filled with fun and laughter.

Jocelyn Wasserman of Roslyn helped her son bring the concept to fruition. During the event, she said they raised more than $25,000 to benefit Life’s WORC, whose mission is to provide services and support that facilitate an independent and fulfilling experience for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Her middle son Jason, 13, attends the organization’s Family Center for Autism, which provides activities and services for people with autism.

“[Jason] attends the Family Center for Autism, so we wanted other children to have the opportunity to get scholarships to also attend the Family Center for Autism,” Jocelyn Wasserman said. “We’re hoping to make this even bigger … we hope to continue to make this an annual event.”

Organizers set up four flag football fields,  where some parents coached and other volunteers refereed the games. Children, who ranged from kindergartners to seventh-graders, played in 15-minute games. Some children received temporary autism awareness tattoos, while others took part in raffles. A silent auction with sports memorabilia was also part of the event.

“We had such an amazing time supporting such a good foundation,” said Scott Director, who coached his son Zachary’s team.

Matthew Zebatto, interim chief executive officer of Life’s WORC, which is headquartered in Garden City, said the nonprofit organization serves more than 2,000 individuals across Long Island, Queens and Manhattan. Though their organization receives government money, Zebatto said, fundraising dollars are vital for Life’s WORC. Among its programs are housing services, workforce training and youth camps.

He said for a first-time event, it exceeded his expectations and lauded the Wasserman family’s efforts.

“When you start that cultivation at such a young age, it benefits everybody, including the individual and just makes you a better person and helps the community and certainty helps organizations such as ours,” Zebatto said.