Posted by: Autism Speaks | April 4, 2012

The Boss!

 Written by Robert Holt, a supporter of Autism Speaks 

We were in for a wild ride right from the start.

Bruce Springsteen was back in town, and we amazingly won tickets through Autism Speaks 5K, donated by Patti Springsteen. Patti was inspired by a girl with autism who could horseback ride just like a normally developing teen, and wanted to donate tickets to the Autism Speaks cause. Coincidentally, we were the lucky winners – my wife & I have been active in the Autism Speaks 5K and Walks for many years, and have a sweetheart 13-year-old daughter with autism.

The seats were row B, next to the stage, with the other “Friends of the Band” Cool, huh? The Boss proceeded to take us on the Thunder Road for three hours of excitement, thrills and heartbreak and pain. It sentimentally took us back to the 70’s, when teen angst merged into just gettin’ by. Somehow. For us now, we middle-agers still have a piece of that in us, and all of us there (and the young ones, too) danced, sang and let everything go in one glorious night. Heck, we all knew the words, right? We belted them out with reckless abandon. The normally straight-laced successful professionals there shed any pretense we’d built up over the years and just let it fly. It was liberating, to say the least.

In We Take Care of Our Own, Bruce talks of the unique quality of Americans. I know that our family, friends, support groups, Autism Speaks and Patti Springsteen are all part of it. No matter what political affiliation, Americans take care of their own.

Patti, and Autism Speaks, thanks so much for the tickets. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

team FOCAS on Autism, of Carroll County, MD

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Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 23, 2012

Light It Up Blue – Aspen

One of the newest Light It Up Blue participants this year is Aspen, Colorado, where they’ve taken the idea of shining a light on autism seriously. On April 1, Aspen kicks off National Autism Awareness Month as the first ski resort in history to Light It Up Blue. This visual extravaganza on the ski slopes directly above downtown Aspen was created by renowned lighting designer Robert Singer and is part of a three-day celebration throughout the Aspen area.

Autism Speaks representatives will be attending the fundraising gala sponsored by Patron Spirits at The Little Nell at the base of Aspen Mountain. Organizers are delighted to have actress and autism advocate Holly Robinson Peete and husband Rodney Peete, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, as hosts for the gala, which also features Grammy-nominated Jazz pianist Rob Mullins.

The Light It Up Blue Aspen celebration also includes important community and educational elements. Rupert Isaacson, the internationally best-selling author and film producer of The Horse Boy, heads to town for a special equine therapy demonstration of The Horse Boy Method at Windwalkers Ranch. On World Autism Awareness Day, he’s the featured guest at the Community Evening for Autism at the historic Wheeler Opera House. The evening features a cocktail party, giveaways from Aspen merchants, and a screening of Isaacson’s movie “The Horse Boy.” Both he and Peete will spend part of their time on World Autism Awareness Day visiting local schools to talk about diversity and disability. Aspen also debuts The Blue Door Club, by encouraging local business owners to light their establishment doorways blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Over 40 businesses have already signed on.

Light It Up Blue Aspen Events conclude on April 3 with a teachers’ workshop on behavior strategies and a free public talk on home/school collaboration by clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Hepburn of JFK Partners. All proceeds raised from these events will benefit local families and autism organizations, including Extreme Sports Camp for Autism, the Roaring Fork Autism Network.  The Autism Speaks – Autism Treatment Network, JFK Partners in Denver, and Children’s Hospital will also receive a share to provide more outreach services into rural communities.

Congratulations to Aspen, Colorado, for shining such a bright light on Autism this April!

For more information, please visit our website www.lightitupblueaspen.com.

Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 9, 2012

Online Fundraising Training 2012: Sending Emails

Welcome to the eighth in our series of short videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 6, 2012

2012 Miami Walk Now for Autism Speaks Recap

On Sunday, March 4 more than 20,000 people, including individuals with autism, their families and friends attended the 12th annual Miami-Dade County Walk Now for Autism Speaks at JC Bermudez Park in Doral, Florida. So far, the Walk raised more than $600,000, all of which will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally fund innovative autism research and family services, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Miami and beyond.

The event kicked off with grand fanfare as DJ Gary Gore welcomed participants and kept them energized with dance performances from local studios Creative Praise and Trendz Dance Performance.  “Zumba for Autism,” led by Miami Lakes K-8 Center, got everyone warmed up and pumped with the popular workout.  Touching performances from teens with autism included Daniel Vega, who moved the crowd with his awe-inspiring rendition of the National Anthem. Sophia Aprano and Joel Vazquez both sang solos and Nikolas Teodorobic sang “God Bless America.”  

Event emcees included Antonio Mora from CBS 4, Sandra Peebles with Univision 23, and Orlando Leon from Clear Channel’s 103.5 Mega. Autism Speaks president, Mark Roithmayr, provided some encouraging and inspirational words about making a difference and being here to help fight for those and their loved ones who struggle with autism every day. 

Local government and city officials were also on hand to show their support. A first for the City of Doral, Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez handed over the keys to the city in honor of the Walk. Also in attendance were Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, Congressman David Rivera and Commissioners Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Rebecca Sosa and Joe Martinez.  

A VIP tent also housed a who’s who of telenovela stars, including Mariana Rodriguez, Jeanette Lehr, Jorge Consejo, Ismael La Rosa and more.

Walk Chair, Manny Gaunaurd; Logistics Chair, Wilson Cristiancho and Corporate Chair, Albert Lopez  along with the rest to of the Walk committee did an outstanding job working tirelessly with the help of more than 400 volunteers to make sure the day went as smooth as possible. As the presentation wrapped up, walkers were eager to make their way to the starting line. Not soon after, winds gained momentum and clouds formed as some walkers finished their trek while others were just halfway through. When heavy showers followed, the crowd ran for cover under tents and some were already in their cars loading up, which led to an abrupt ending to the day’s events.

Despite the weather, the resource fair was heavy with traffic as families worked their way around to check out some of the service providers and information booths such as Kinetic Kids Therapy, A New Way Day Services, and the UM Mailman Center. Local sponsors included Sedano’s, Brockway Moran & Partners, Baptist Health, IMUSA USA, MasTec, Total Bank, MBAF, Eco Refurbishing Solution, BDO and South Florida Ford, who encouraged participants to take photos at the Walk and post to South Florida’s Facebook page where $10 was donated to the Walk for each uploaded photo. Plenty of activities were on hand for kids to enjoy including inflatable bouncers and even a petting zoo.

Overall, the event was a success providing families and friends a chance to unite, make a difference for those affected by autism and help increase autism awareness one by one.

On Sunday, March 4, 2012 – More than 7,000 people, including individuals with autism, their families and friends attended the Walk Now for Autism Speaks Palm Beach at City Commons in Downtown West Palm Beach, Florida. The Walk has raised over $344,000 so far, all of which will support Autism Speaks’ work, both locally and nationally fund innovative autism research and family services, to increase awareness about the growing autism health crisis, and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families in Palm Beach and beyond.

The event was emceed by NBC News Channel 5’s West Palm Beach Anchor, Michael Williams. Honorary Chairs Suzanne and Bob Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, addressed the crowd with moving speeches, motivating everyone to Light It Up Blue on April 2 and demanding action for the passage of the Achieving Better Life Experience Act (A.B.L.E – legislation allowing families raising children with disabilities to save tax-free for their future needs) in congress.

Walk Corporate Chair Denise Negron, Chair Laura Pincus and Co-chairs Amy Schwartz and Debra Rosenfeld along with their amazing Walk Committee and 200+ volunteers made sure that the morning went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the one thing out of their control was the weather. In the interest of public safety, the actual Walking portion of the day was canceled due to severe storms and high winds. The activities surrounding the Walk, though, were enjoyed by the thousands of walkers who came out for the event.  Before the weather became a factor however, the second annual Run before the Walk took place with more than 200 runners lacing up for autism awareness.

SheKnows.com, the online living magazine, was on hand to promote their “She Knows Where the Other Sock Went” dress. The campaign features Autism Speaks’ long-time supporter and Grammy Award Winner Toni Braxton wearing the dress created by celebrity designer Michael Costello and photographed by renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker. The unique, high-fashion gown made out of socks that are missing their mates was displayed at the Walk and will next travel to Los Angeles later this spring to be auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks.

For the sixth straight year, Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us proudly serves as the North American sponsors of Walk Now for Autism Speaks. The company’s mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, stopped by the Walk to meet and take pictures with walkers. Additional sponsors included: Sandra C. Slomin Foundation and Family Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, South Florida Ford, TD Bank, Palm Beach Gardens Whole Foods Market, Palm Beach Spine and Diagnostics, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Striano Financial Group, St. Mary’s Medical Center, The Children’s Hospital at Palms West, and Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart, & Shipley, Gunster, and the Miami Marlins.

Also taking pictures with families was beloved McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald. People visited the MedClaim booth for their chance to win a free iPad and South Florida Ford Dealers provided an Official Pace Car for the start of the Walk. They also made generous donations for everyone who logged into their Facebook page. Children from Allamanda Elementary wow’d everyone with a dance, The Exceptional Theater Company entertained the crowd with a song, and Makayla Kelly kicked off the Walk with the National Anthem.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks, raising more than $28.5 million in 2011 in 85 cities across the U.S. and Canada to support autism research, awareness and advocacy. Last year’s Walk Now for Autism Speaks Palm Beach event attracted more than 7,000 walkers and raised over $390,000 for families and individuals. Autism Speaks has provided funding to Palm Beach services providers, including Project LifeSaver through our Family Services Community Grant program. Autism Speaks science grants have supported research at The University of Miami and Florida International University.

For more information about the 2012 Palm Beach Walk Now for Autism Speaks visit http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org or contact palmbeach@autismspeaks.org or (954) 421-9997.

To see an interview with Bob Wright, please click here.

Posted by: Autism Speaks | December 30, 2011

Online Fundraising Training 2012: Sending Emails

Welcome to the seventh in our series of short videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

Posted by: Autism Speaks | December 30, 2011

Online Fundraising Training 2012: Adding the Facebook Widget

Welcome to the sixth in our series of short videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

Posted by: Autism Speaks | December 30, 2011

Online Fundraising Training 2012: Build & Edit Your Donation Page

Welcome to the fifth in our series of short videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

Posted by: Autism Speaks | December 30, 2011

Online Fundraising Training 2012: MyHQ Tour

Welcome to the fourth in our series of short videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

Posted by: Autism Speaks | December 28, 2011

Online Fundraising Training 2012: Registering for the Walk

Welcome to the third in our series of short, fun videos designed to help you get the most out of your Walk Now for Autism Speaks experience. This series includes short videos on how to: navigate the Walk Now for Autism Speaks homepage, navigate the local Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising pages, build and edit your personal page, send e-mails and much more!

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