This post is by Mark LaNeve, the father of twins with autism and Allstate Executive.
I admit it. I have a couple of very personal reasons for wanting Allstate to support Autism Speaks. Their names are Jake and Drew, and they’re my twin sons. They were diagnosed when they were three. They’re now 19 years old. Jake has full-blown autism while Drew copes with a learning disability and autistic-like tendencies. So I understand life with autism.
When a child has autism, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends and schoolmates are also affected. It sometimes makes people feel helpless, like they can’t do anything.
But you can do something to help. And it couldn’t be easier. From now through December 15 when you get any Allstate insurance quote, they’ll donate $10 to Autism Speaks. Get a quote on coverage for your car, home, life, motorcycle…whatever. You could save money on quality Allstate protection. And your quote will help fund research to treat this growing disorder.
Allstate has committed to donating up to $500,000 to this worthy cause. The more people who quote, the more money gets raised. So please, encourage friends and family to get a free, no-obligation quote. Continuing education and research is desperately needed, so your quote will make a difference. Just call 866-998-4488 or visit AutismSpeaks.org/Allstate today.
On behalf of those who can’t always say it for themselves – thank you!
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What do you do on a steamy July 4th morning? If you live in our nation’s capital or were lucky enough to be visiting the area, the only place to be was this year’s 11th Annual Autism Speaks 5K held in Potomac, MD. More than 2,100 registrants participated in the 5K run, 1 mile walk and the Run Anywhere setting an all time record. The event will raise over $260,000, another record, with donations still coming in. The race always attracts an elite group of racers, which makes for an exciting finish and this year didn’t disappoint. Leading the men’s group was George Galasso, 20, from Holmdel, NJ and a runner for Princeton University with a time of 15:35. He just outkicked Seife Geletu beating him by 1 second. Our female winner put a bit more pavement between she and her next competitor. Katie Harman, 20, from Clarksville, MD captured the overall female title with a time of 18:30.
Runners came from nearby and as far away as Los Angeles and even Hanoi. Besides age group awards for running performances, prizes were awarded to the Top Child Fundraiser, 7 yo Chloe Miller ($3,800), Top School Team – Carderock Kids ($2,400), Top MCSL Swim Team-Eldwick Sharks ($3,700), Top Fundraising Team – Richie’s Racers ($40,000), Top Fundraising Team/capita 4 people ($25,000), Team With Farthest Traveling Member (Hanoi). Remember, join us next year for the 12th annual Autism Speaks 5K on July 4th.
Can you BELIEVE it?
We Bostonians love our sports and our beloved Bruins. Everywhere you look you can see the B’s team logo and very often it is accompanied by one word: BELIEVE
On June 15, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years. Can a night get any better than that?
Why yes, yes I BELIEVE, and now know firsthand, that it can!
The night of June 15 was an incredible night for the boys in black and gold and for all the Bruins hockey fans who BELIEVED… but it was even better for this mom from Braintree.
I attended a very special event hosted by Teamsters Local 25 at Raso’s Grille. The Teamsters Local 25 Union has worked tirelessly over the past four years to fundraise for autism research and awareness. That night the Teamsters presented a check for $170,000 to the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks! Allow me to repeat that…$170,000!! I still don’t think the enormity of their generosity has truly sunk in yet. Here comes that lump in my throat again!
If that wasn’t enough to blow my mind, the Teamsters also wrote checks AGAIN to support Melmark New England, a school serving children with autism and a wide range of developmental disabilities, as well as to the Braintree American Little League: Challenger Baseball division.
The Teamsters generous gifts are so important to me on so many levels – as a long time volunteer for a cause that is near and dear to my heart, serving my 4th year as co-chair for The Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks, but most importantly as a mom of a wondrous, talented, courageous, beautiful, funny, loving little boy with autism. And it just so happens this miraculous son of mine plays on the very same Braintree Challenger League that was also the fortunate beneficiary of The Teamsters generosity!
WHAT A NIGHT! I’m a BELIEVER…are you?
Have you hugged a Teamster lately? Go on, they won’t mind, I swear.
So as the Bruins players raised the Stanley Cup proudly above their heads and made Boston fans’ dreams come true, I raise my cup to Sean O’Brien, Trish DiSilva and all members of The Teamsters Local 25 who BELIEVE in the beauty of giving back … it’s just what they do…it’s just how they roll…their commitment and drive to make a difference is so inspirational. THANK YOU doesn’t seem adequate to convey my deepest gratitude.
I BELIEVE strongly that the Teamsters Local 25 support is paramount and critically important to our local autism community…and just like the Bruins, they make dreams come true for so many families in Greater Boston.
Do you BELIEVE in miracles? This mom from Braintree sure does.
Kaitlin Reilly, resident of Allendale, N.J. and Junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School, will be completing the ‘World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle’ (24,000 pieces and 126 sq. ft.), entitled, “Life,” to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Kaitlin, having been working on jigsaw puzzles for the last seven years, feels that this is the biggest challenge yet.
Kaitlin has completed this puzzle several times before, and is no stranger when it comes to completing puzzles that require significant time contributions, averaging approximately 250 hours of work to complete one of these involved puzzles. She is currently “Youngest in the World to Complete Solo,” “The Youngest in the World Solo after Mixing All the Puzzle Pieces Prior to Assembling,” and “First to Complete in New Jersey, USA.”
To learn more about Kaitlin’s latest endeavor and to make a donation, visit her website: http://www.everypiececounts.com
Autism Speaks: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us! How did you come up with ‘Every Piece Counts?’
Kaitlin Reilly: Well, I was working on a puzzle and my brother came up with an idea. He thought that maybe we get could people to sponsor a piece and then donate to a charity.
AS: Why autism?
KR: Well my cousin has autism, and I have other family members and friends that are affected. I wanted to raise awareness and funds for autism research.
AS: So what is your game plan?
KR: I am looking to raise $24,000, because the puzzle has 24,000 pieces. I am going to work putting the pieces together as donations come in. I want to keep with the pace!
AS: What is the puzzle design?
KR: The puzzle is called “Life,” and is actually the worlds largest puzzle. The Autism Speaks puzzle piece logo and the “Life” puzzle are fitting. We are all puzzle pieces and we all fit together to form a bigger picture of unity and overall life. Every person, every animal, every living thing fits together.
AS: Where will you be assembling this puzzle?
KR: There is a room in my house that we call the ‘Puzzle Room.’ Luckily this puzzle fits!
AS: How did you become interested in puzzles?
KR: I started when I was 10. I saw a puzzle of New York City and I just loved it. There was 1,000 pieces! I loved the picture, but had never done a puzzle before. My family helped me and I have been hooked ever since!
AS: What are some of your other hobbies?
KR: I play tennis, volunteer, cook, bake, and well, put together puzzles!
ECHOage is a charity-driven, eco-friendly online birthday party service where children learn the value of giving and receiving while celebrating. No matter what a child’s theme or venue, any party can easily be ECHOaged. All a child has to do is choose a cause and invite guests. Guests RSVP and contribute online as the child watches the contributions grow. After the party is over, ECHOage sends half the money collected to the child so they can buy one meaningful gift. The other half of the funds go to the charity the child has chosen. Easy on guests, good for the environment and meaningful for children.
Here is a sample ECHOage party thrown by Brittany Cerenza!
Meet Brittany Carenza, age 12, from Westwood, New Jersey. This young philanthropist did the hula at her ECHOage birthday “beach” party while raising money for a cause close to her heart. By ECHOaging her party, she asked her friends to make an online contribution instead of bringing a present to her party. ECHOage sent her half the money to buy herself a birthday gift from all her friends and the other half was donated to Autism Speaks, Brittany’s charity of choice.
THE GIFT: “I’m still thinking about it. I’m going to get an iPod or save up more money for a laptop.”
THE CHARITY: “There are some people in my family who have autism, so I chose Autism Speaks because it made me feel like I was doing something for them. I see my one cousin a lot, he’s seven years old. Knowing someone with autism has affected me because it helps me notice how lucky I really am to have what I have. I try to play with my cousin, but he has pretty bad autism so it was easier to play with him when he was younger. We are kind of close, but he is in his own world. He knows my name though.”
MONEY RAISED for Autism Speaks: $129.62
THE PARTY: “It was a beach-themed party, so we played volleyball and kickball. We turned our garage into a luau tiki hut and put sand all over the floor. There were flowers on the walls and leis for everyone to wear. I wore a hula skirt. It was really fun. We had a BBQ and served hamburgers and hot dogs and chips. We had an ice-cream cake and a big cookie cake. We had a lot of different kinds of music, some Lady Gaga and some beach music. We told people to bring their bathing suits because we threw water balloons at each other.”
THE ECHO: “Having an ECHOage party felt better than getting presents because I knew that I wasn’t getting the money for myself – I was helping kids in need. I think the kids might be able to get different toys or learning devices.”
MOM SAYS: “My daughter Brittany has always had a desire to help others, so an ECHOage party was a definite for her when I told her about it. When she was reviewing the charity choices, Autism Speaks was her first choice because of her two cousins who have autism; one is seven and the other is 21. Brittany saw her seven-year-old cousin grow up and was moved to help others in the same situation and their families and to find answers to the puzzle surrounding autism. I am so proud of Brittany and I am certain she will want to have another ECHOage party next year.”
To book an ECHOage birthday party for your child or to save the date, visit www.echoage.com
Autism Speaks to Young Professionals (AS2YP) is the budding younger-generation oriented event series that began in New York City in 2009. To-date AS2YP New York City has hosted four fundraising events- the most recent of which took place on February 3rd, at trendy NYC hotspot Avenue – and has also seen a sister chapter start up in Chicago (the Chicago chapter had their first event on January 19th), with chapters in the works in both DC and LA.
The event on February 3 at Avenue was pretty much AS2YP in a nutshell. The event sold out a week in advance- par for the course at this point, with three sold out events under our belt – and was attended by 300 New York City area young professionals who sipped and danced the night away in a venue reminiscent of a 1920’s speakeasy (think Boardwalk Empire set). The evening was sponsored by RBS for the second year in a row, and featured beverages from Brooklyn Brewery, Crop Organic Vodka, DonQ Rum, Farmer’s Organic Gin, Given Tequila Liqueur, Magner’s Irish Cider and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. AS2YP’s DJ of choice, Caleb Loftus, alternated between old school tunes and new hits, and kept everyone’s head bobbing with an occasional impressive move thrown in on the dance floor.
Midway through the evening, event chairs Amanda Niederauer and Danny Ryan spoke about what AS2YP means to them. As the sister and father of Liam and Jonathan, both of whom are on the autism spectrum, they know better than anyone how important it is that this younger generation of Autism Speaks supporters get behind the cause as early as possible. And with $32,000 raised (and counting) we think that we have made a pretty good start.
For more information on AS2YP (and to see pictures from last night’s event at Avenue) please visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/as2yp.
Check out additional photos and coverage from this event at Guest of a Guest
From Friday, January 28 through Monday, February 21, Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores nationwide are holding the “Great Trade-In” event, urging customers to trade-in any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs or toddler beds in exchange for a 25% savings on the purchase of any new baby item, in any of these product categories, from select manufacturers.
The “Great Trade-In” event is a national safety program designed to draw attention to the fact that certain used baby products, like cribs and car seats, can carry potential hazards, but are still in circulation and are not the best candidates to be handed down or resold. Beyond recalls, certain older and used baby items can be potentially unsafe for a variety of reasons, including damage or lack of compliance with recent advances in product safety standards. Since the company introduced the “Great Trade-In” event in September 2009, approximately 300,000 potentially unsafe cribs, car seats and other baby products – most of which were in extremely poor condition – have been turned in at stores across the country.
Customers can visit their local Babies“R”Us or Toys“R”Us store to trade-in used cribs or baby products. Day care centers or other organizations that wish to exchange items in bulk are encouraged to contact their local Babies“R”Us or Toys“R”Us store prior to returning their used items to ensure adequate availability of new merchandise.
For more information on the “Great Trade-In” event, including a list of participating manufacturers, please visit Babiesrus.com/trade-in. For additional information on Toys“R”Us, Inc. safety initiatives, tips to keep kids safe and to sign up to receive e-mail notifications about product recalls visit Toysrus.com/Safety.