Home > Awareness, Fundraising > A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

This by is Ann Gibbons, Executive Director, National Capital

Sometimes I get discouraged.  The slow progress of research and discovery; the painstaking process my son goes through when learning a new skill; the number of times we parents have to reach out to each other to steady one another on an often rocky road.  But a couple things happened recently that made me sit up and cheer at my desk.

I read a note from my boss, Mark Roithmayr, who celebrated the opening of a national autism diagnostic and treatment center to serve families across Albania.  It will also support regional development through the Autism Speaks’ Global Autism Public Health Initiative.

“We are one organization among many,” Mark wrote.  “We are largely supported by families – those who walk and fundraise, one dollar at a time, to change the world. It’s working.”

Now spin the globe half a world away and land in Pasadena, Maryland.  Here we met the seventh grade students at the Chesapeake Bay Middle School and their teacher, Yvonne Embrey.  Pasadena is a small town—12,000 residents—in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.  It is not a wealthy town by American standards, but it is an incredible place.  Yvonne wrote us last April:  “My 7th grade students at Chesapeake Bay Middle School are doing a fundraiser for autism as a service learning activity. In class, the students learned basic information about autism and two students spoke to the whole group of 120 students about their autistic brothers. The students gathered pledges and completed a walkathon on April 27 at Chesapeake High School.”  This was just the beginning of a yearlong dedication to learning about autism and working for our mission.  By year end, the students have raised over $16,000 for Autism Speaks.

The folks in Pasadena, Maryland did not have to support our cause…but they did.  And their acts of kindness are felt here, at home, in the families struggling in their homes in their own school district; and in the homes on the other side of the globe.  It is time to listen, as our motto reads; and we are listening, together.

  1. December 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    WOW! This is amazing – I think it’s important for young adults to learn about autism. A child who accepts and understands autism, will grow into an adult who accepts and understands.

  2. Jana
    December 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Why aren’t schools doing somehting for Autism shown as often as schools where there are problems with Autism?

    This school is a shining example of how when a community does somehting for it instea dof adding to the problems, Everybody wins.

  3. December 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Love my buddies at Autism Speaks. so thankful for all of you!! thank you Ann for this post!

  4. Rachel McCleery
    December 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Great post, Ann! After visiting Pasadena, MD with Marjorie for the Celebrating Differences presentation you could tell there are some special faculty and students there. Way to go Chesapeake Bay Middle School!

  1. February 19, 2012 at 2:24 am

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