2021 Marathon: Kyla McHaffie for NECC

Above: After running a virtual course for last year’s Boston Marathon, NECC’s Kyla McHaffie is looking forward to the real deal this Monday.

[The Boston Marathon always includes a pack of runners from our town. While this year, the number allowed on the course is limited, Southborough still has a strong showing.

Between now and Monday, I’m featuring stories of residents donning bibs for a cause.]

Southborough’s New England Center for Children will have four runners in this year’s pared down Boston Marathon.* One of them is a Southborough resident.

According to NECC, Southborough’s Kyla McHaffie has worked at NECC for 12 years. She started as a teacher and is now the Director of Enrollment and Family Support. 

McHaffie had been set to run the marathon last year. When it went virtual in September 2020, she ran the 26.2 miles from her home in Liberty Estates through Hopkinton, Westborough, Northborough and back to Southborough to end in the NECC parking lot on Turnpike Rd. That run earned $12,000 for NECC. She’s already raised over $11,000 more this year, and isn’t finished.

Her fundraising page shares:

I am inspired by our students everyday. I feel very fortunate to work at such an amazing organization committed to both students and staff.

We’re more than a school, we’re an autism research institute helping children with autism live more independent lives. We’re unique because of our three-pronged approach to intervention: education, research, and technology. And our model is scalable to programs around the world.

All donations to NECC fund research on early intensive behavioral instruction, ensure students have the best equipment to meet individual learning needs, provide vocational training, support graduate training opportunities for teachers, promote our ACE® Software System, and allow us to share educational research findings with clinicians and teachers around the world.

By supporting NECC, YOU are leading the way in autism education and research.

McHaffie lives in town with her husband Matt and four children ages 2-6 (Gwen, Charlie, James, and Kieran).

NECC shared some information on their other three team members this year:

  • Ashley Arsenault also ran the 2020 race on her own course from her home in Clinton to NECC, and has been training since December 2019. She has raised more than $18,000 over these two years.
  • Jessica Mascia has a son at NECC and is running as a grateful parent for the support and education her son is getting from NECC. She just surpassed $14,000.
  • Sarah Conway has been a teacher at NECC for ten years, recently moving to a lead teacher position in a public school. She has raised over $11,000 in her marathon training experience because she believes in NECC’s commitment to training and preparing staff for careers helping children with special needs. 

Good luck to NECC’s team.

[Note: If you are a Southborough resident using the Marathon to raise funds/awareness for a cause, please reach out with your information. Email mysouthborough@gmail.com.]

*Pared down refers to the number of runners allowed to run the actual race on Monday. The course is sure to be as heartbreaking as usual!

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