The Autism Society of North Carolina relies on volunteers to help carry out our mission. In honor of Volunteer Week, we share a story about one valued volunteer.
When Larry Grossflam moved to North Carolina from New York in the fall of 2014, he began looking for volunteer opportunities. Through his employer, United Health Group, he learned about the AmeriCarna LIVE car show held by former NASCAR champion crew chief Ray Evernham to benefit the IGNITE community center for young adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
“Having been a longtime follower and admirer of Ray Evernham’s career, a big fan of AmeriCarna on Velocity and being somewhat car-crazy myself, I thought this opportunity would be a perfect fit for me,” Grossflam said. “I instantly felt like part of the team and knew my assistance and experience was appreciated and respected.”
Grossflam has given AmeriCarna LIVE a huge boost each year. He attends other car shows in the area and hands out cards about AmeriCarna LIVE, which is held each November in Davidson, NC, and draws thousands of car enthusiasts. Grossflam also posts about the event on community calendars and the Facebook pages of car clubs. Once car owners have registered, he works with them, and he helps set up at the Moonshiners Ball, which is held the night before, and the car show.
“Larry Grossflam defines what it means to serve the community and give back,” said Det Cullum, AmeriCarna LIVE event coordinator. “His passion for cars and helping others has played an integral role in making AmeriCarna LIVE such a successful event, and we know he will continue to do everything in his power to help us make it better each year.”
Grossflam also has taken the time to learn about IGNITE so he can educate the public about the community center. IGNITE, which was founded with support from the Evernham Family-Racing for a Reason Foundation, offers activities, skills training, and educational workshops that foster social, financial, educational, and employment independence for its members.
“People should know that individuals with autism have skills, reach goals, and function in their communities like everyone else, but they need the right support to help them,” Grossflam said. “When I was given a tour of IGNITE’s facility and saw how the program was organized, what it did, and how they helped, I knew this was a great environment for young adults to receive that needed support.
“People should know that a program like this exists.”
Grossflam said he looks forward to continuing to volunteer for IGNITE and the Autism Society of North Carolina, and he encourages others to do the same.
“If you can use your experience and life’s work to help others or to just get involved in something you have passion for, it will pay you back with pride and an amazing feeling of empowerment and ‘doing good,’” he said. “You will also meet some great people, make new friends and set an example for others to follow. ASNC and the IGNITE program are a great place to start. You won’t meet better people.
“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.”
To learn more about “AmeriCarna” and AmeriCarna LIVE, click here.Tags: AmeriCarna, AmeriCarna LIVE, Asperger Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome, autism, autism advocacy, autism north carolina, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism spectrum, autism support, Developmental disability, IGNITE, Ray Evernham