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2020 silver linings for our autism village

Boy, oh boy! What a wild ride this year has been for our autism community! We never saw it coming and we were not as prepared and we would have liked to have been. But...we did it! We adapted! And we grew stronger. MUCH stronger!

This resonates for our entire autism community and our Cooking Autism village. We grew STRONGER!We should never underestimate the strength of what our community is capable of!

In spite of a pandemic, and because of your support, our village has grown strong over the past year. Here is what you have helped us accomplish around our community!...

1. Daily Lunch Bunch and Virtual Exceptional Chefs Classes. When the schools closed on March 13, 2020 we knew that we needed to take action to continue the growth we were seeing in our area. We could not allow our community to regress, which can happen very quickly in some of our autism community. We started a virtual live cooking class that met at noon for 6 days a week. Teachers and local celebrities joined forces to ensure that we were still connecting with our students around the area. Just because the world stopped, the learning needed to continue. Videos Here.

2. At the same time, we knew some children and adults whose schedules changed dramatically, would need some sensory support. We received a gracious grant from the Community Foundation that allowed us to send emergency supplies to families in need of sensory relief. Sensory swings, bubble lamps, sensory manipulatives, body socks, noise cancelling headphones, weighted vest and blankets were shipped to houses that requested support. Many homes received technical help so that their loved ones could continue therapies online.

3. Our Race Toward Autism Acceptance was rescheduled from March to October so that we could better understand how to provide this event while being socially responsible. Our race was lovingly powered by Pohanka Nissan of Fredericksburg and received over 450 virtual or in person racing. It was wonderful to see so many community members, either spaced out at the Old Mill Park or via their pictures on social media, celebrating our autism community. Because of the partnership between sponsors and our community members, over $31,000 was raised and is now being used to support many children in the area!!!!

4. That takes me to our next wonderful news. 486 children and young adults are now receiving life-skills lesson support, either virtually or in person, for an entire year!!! Can you hear that I am screaming "486"??? This is absolutely phenomenal! Can you imagine how much growth can be seen in a year each one? Big or small, we will celebrate each and every victory! Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of this growth!

5. 3+6= One Great Team! Please welcome our newest Board of Directors! Cooking Autism, Inc. grew so much over the past few years that we certainly needed to add three more seats to our team! Welcome to Sarah Beth Rodrigues, Melanie Hughes, and Jonathan Carriveau! All three members are extremely passionate about our community, bring a ton of innovative ideas, and are ready to help support Cooking Autism, Inc.'s mission to provide opportunities of growth for our amazing community members! Welcome! Thank you for completing our team! We had many amazing applicants for the three new seats. We truly wish we could seat every single one! We will be in contact soon to solicit these amazing applicants to be a part of the Cooking Autism, Inc. Community Sub-Committee. Thank you for making our village so very strong! BOD: Sarah Beth Rodrigues, Melanie Hughes, Jonathan Carriveau, Amy Allen, Donna Bloom, Kari George, April Burch, Morgan Burch, Andrea Write

I am so very honored to be a part of this amazingly strong community! I wish I could visually show you how proud and humbled we get to be a small part of the huge growth that is happening in our area. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing us to be here with you!

How can I help?

We are at the end of the year and could used your help wrapping up our goals. We need individuals who can either volunteer in our office, spread our story, sponsor our 2nd Annual Race Toward Autism Acceptance, give support, or start a social media fundraiser in our name. Here is a link to take you through the very quick process of starting one. https://www.facebook.com/fund/cookingautism.org/

When you start a fundraiser for Cooking Autism, Inc. this helps us to spread the word about our mission to provide life-skills programs to young adults and children in the area impacted by neurological or intellectual challenges.

As #GivingTuesday approaches, Facebook is matching up to $7,000,000 in donations. Your dollar can be doubled between now and 12/03/2020! How cool is that?

Race Toward Autism Acceptance #2

Are you interested in running in our next Race Toward Autism Acceptance Race and Festival powered by Paragon Autism Services? Here is a link to the in-person and virtual race.

Please contact April@CookingAutism.Org to become an event sponsor for the big race!

This big race will have a live DJ at the festival AND live music on the racing trail! What?!? How great is that? Whether you are a 10k cruiser, 5k runner, or a 1 mile sprinter, you will enjoy the upbeat and fun cadences of local musicians. The festival is free for all, and will be spread over the entire Old Mill Park so that we can ensure social distancing between patrons. Our in-person racing will have 25 people of less in each staggered heat so that we can ensure that each racer has the room to socially distance while running. This race is organized by Bishops Events.

For more information about our community, please visit CookingAutism.org or email info@CookingAutism.Org


©2018 by Cooking Autism, Inc.