Charlotte – The Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation has received the 2014 Impact Award from the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC). During its annual conference Feb. 21-22 in Charlotte, NC, ASNC recognized the foundation for its ongoing support and initial gift to start the IGNITE community center program. Located in Davidson, NC, IGNITE offers activities, skills training, and educational workshops to young adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
“Through the support of IGNITE, we now have folks making progress to advance their future, whether it be making friends, learning to drive, going back to school, or getting a job,” said Tracey Sheriff, CEO of the Autism Society of North Carolina. “None of this would be possible without the support of the foundation.”
The Impact Award was presented by Jessica Earnhardt, one of 30 members of IGNITE. “After only four months at IGNITE, I returned to college after seven years away, and this is my second semester,” Earnhardt said. “I am living away from my parents. I have responsibilities I did not have before. I have gained a lot of confidence, too, and I have friends.”
Mary Evernham, Board member of the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the foundation, praising the work of the Autism Society of North Carolina in establishing IGNITE and producing positive results for the members.
Ray Evernham, former NASCAR championship crew chief, team owner, and current ESPN broadcaster, appeared via video to share his appreciation: “Thank you so much for this award. It means a great deal, but we’ve got a lot more to do.”
“These are brilliant people. We’ve got to support them,” Evernham said. “As they come through that door, you never know if it’s going to be the next Einstein, the next Bill Gates, or the next doctor that cures cancer. Regardless, they’re our sons, our daughters, our brothers, our sisters, our nieces, our nephews. We owe them the opportunity.”
To learn more about IGNITE, please go to https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/index.php/ignitedavidson.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Recent studies estimate that up to 1 of every 70 children born in North Carolina will be affected by ASD.
- For more than 40 years, the Autism Society of North Carolina has worked to address areas of need and expand services for the autism community in North Carolina. ASNC works to directly improve the lives of individuals affected by autism, by providing advocacy, education, and services.
- Additional information is available by calling 1-800-442-2762 or by visiting www.autismsociety-nc.org.