April is Autism Acceptance Month! During the “Color the Spectrum, Autism Art Festival” representatives from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and KESQ News Channel 3 presented Autism Society Inland Empire (ASIE) with a $25,000 grant. The free family-friendly art festival celebrated youth and adults on the Autism spectrum, by featuring a marketplace for entrepreneurs to sell their wares. The event also included free activities including arts and crafts, face painting, bubble art, chalk art, music, door prizes and more.
“We’re so excited and grateful that the Berger Foundation and News Channel 3 could present the $25,000 grant at our spring event. It really meant a lot to us,” said Juanita Hernandez, Coachella Valley Program Specialist with ASIE. “Families are now looking forward to the many events we have planned this summer, which will be all that more special thanks to these funds.”
The ASIE is planning at least four fun-filled, accepting, summer events in the Coachella Valley, which allow families to come together in a safe, supportive environment to enjoy local attractions and give families the opportunity to experience bowling, pool parties, picnics, and sensory-friendly movies. These summer activities bring more than 600 special needs children and their family members together for adaptive experiences.
“In seeing so many happy children and teens at the ‘Color the Spectrum’ event, it is clear that Autism Society Inland Empire is filling an important need in our community. It’s wonderful that this organization is fostering a supportive network and fun events for our valley’s families,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
In California, 1 in 22 children are now diagnosed with Autism. That is more than 2000 families in the Coachella Valley who have a loved one with Autism. Children with Autism often have challenging behaviors, including aggression and meltdowns, as well as sensory sensitivities, which often cause families to experience exclusion at traditional community activities. The mission of ASIE is to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully.
“Autism Society Inland Empire is providing safe places in the Coachella Valley for children with Autism to express creativity, try new things, practice social skills and increase self-confidence,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2.
Autism Society Inland Empire will be featured on News Channel 3’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on kesq.com throughout the month of April. To learn about ASIE, visit www.IEAutism.org.