Our mission is also to raise awareness and inspire respect. We race for change.”
— Peter Della-Croce, Team Embrace Founder and The Arc Board Member

It was 2007, and The Arc board member Peter Della-Croce had what he believed was the perfect idea for raising funds for The Arc. A triathlete who also enjoys golf and cycling, Della-Croce began Team Embrace, a group of athletes of all ages and experience levels who train and participate in endurance events to raise money for The Arc. The events include triathlons, 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and marathons. Since it started, the team’s athletes have raised $60,000.

But Team Embrace is about more than raising money. “Our mission is also to raise awareness and inspire respect,” Della-Croce says. “We race for change.”

In recognition of his efforts, the Merrill Lynch vice president and financial adviser was named The Arc’s Outstanding Individual Volunteer in 2009 and won The President’s Award in 2010.

When he started Team Embrace, Della-Croce says, his “dream was to have athletes with disabilities be part of the team.” Then he met Tyler Carr Rouse, who had won numerous medals for swimming. The two clicked instantly. Now they run and workout together. But just as important, “Tyler really puts a face to Team Embrace,” Della-Croce says. “He’s a very determined, giving, kind young man.”

Over the past five years, more than 100 athletes have raced for Team Embrace, and Della-Croce had his first podium finish as a member of a relay with swimmer Reed Carter, one of the people with developmental disabilities who has joined the team.  “Having people with disabilities participate on the team has been the fulfilling aspect for me,” Della-Croce says.