Editor’s note: For those who have a loved one with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a community of support can be a lifeline. For more than 40 years, ASNC Chapters and Support Groups have provided families who face similar challenges an opportunity to encourage one another, share experiences, find information and resources, and have a place where they feel welcomed and understood. These volunteer-led groups also offer education to families, increase autism awareness and understanding, and support and extend ASNC’s mission in their local communities.
Throughout this year, we are highlighting the ways each of our Chapters and Support Groups makes a difference. To find one near you, please click here or contact Marty Kellogg, ASNC State Chapter Coordinator, at 919-865-5088 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Two big fundraisers are happening this month for Autism Society of North Carolina chapters, but they’re not just about the money.
Autism Aware Fare, a day when restaurants in the Charlotte area donate a percentage of their profits to the ASNC Mecklenburg County Chapter, started 12 years ago. “Autism wasn’t that well-known then. There wasn’t a lot of info about it,” said Kathy Snyder, who leads the fundraiser. So the chapter set cards on the restaurant tables describing autism, its signs, and what their chapter offers families. The cards also asked people to be kind and not judge individuals with autism whom they might see in public acting differently.
In the Triangle, the Wake, Durham, and Orange/Chatham Chapters are just starting their fundraiser, Dine 4 Autism, this year. They, too, will set out information cards that tell diners what ASNC chapters do to support families, such as providing free workshops and holding inclusive social activities.
“The idea is to get people who aren’t already aware of us, and who might be going through a diagnosis, and then connect them with our chapters,” said Leslie Welch, ASNC Wake Chapter leader.
Over the years, Autism Aware Fare has brought enough money in that it is the Mecklenburg Chapter’s only fundraiser. They chapter usually raises $15,000-$20,000 for grants to teachers who work with children with autism, training for teachers and aides, and chapter expenses. Last year, the chapter gave $12,500 to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for the purchase of 22 iPads for the self-contained autism classrooms.
For the Wake County Chapter, the biggest funding need is camp, Welch said. The chapter gives $4,500 a year to both ASNC’s Camp Royall and YMCA of the Triangle for their summer camps for individuals with autism.
Each of the fundraisers has dozens of participating locations, so Welch hopes that everyone will take the opportunity to gather their friends and family and dine out to support ASNC chapters.
- Autism Aware Fare: Mecklenburg County on Tuesday, April 22, http://www.autismawarefare.org/
- Dine 4 Autism: Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties on Tuesday, April 29, www.dine4autism.com
Tags: asnc chapters, Asperger Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome, autism, autism advocacy, autism awareness, autism north carolina, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism spectrum, autism support groups, Developmental disability