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Pequea Valley Senior’s Fight For Autism

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“Autism can’t define me. I define Autism.” ~ Kerry Magro

This week I had the immense pleasure of being introduced to a young man with Autism, Everett Kasian, a senior at Pequea Valley School District and two wonderful ladies who have played a major part in his accomplishments–Cathy Koenig, Director of Student Service and Special Education and Lauren Lefever, Speech and Language Pathologist.

Pequea Valley School District has often gone above and beyond each year to support The Tommy Foundation during Autism Awareness Month (April for those unfamiliar with the International Campaign and Efforts). This year, however, there was a big twist–one of their seniors had designed a t-shirt and video to help raise awareness and funds and help others have a better understanding about who he is and about Autism.

I traveled with my Assistant, Alex, to Pequea Valley then this week and got to meet the amazing team that helped this young man get to the point where he not only self-advocates and teaches others about his condition but that also helped him to the point where he is now going to be matriculating at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to study the Music Business.

You can read more about those pursuits in the current issue of the Pequea Valley Pennysaver.

As to Everett’s specific efforts for Autism Awareness month and to help his local community get a better understanding about the condition, he made a video about what it means to live with Autism–from his perspective.

From the video sprang the idea to expand on his efforts and working with Mrs. Lefever, his Speech and Language Pathologist, he came up with a t-shirt design that include the words “Fight For Autism”. His efforts successfully raised over $800 for The Tommy Foundation locally and they sold out of the shirts! This is why I am not wearing one below, though I am hoping more are coming and I can get a hold of one as well.

 

Everett is funny, personable, creative and warm–we even exchanged a hug when we parted ways–with his permission of course. I enjoyed getting even a snapshot of his journey and seeing what the next steps are for him. He’s already gotten word that he has a $14,000 scholarship towards College next year but that’s not quite sufficient for the school he’s going to attend. Our hope is to definitely get the word out there about this inspiring young man and have others support his efforts so he can continue to persevere and achieve all his goals. He definitely already has the drive and determination for it.

As for Mrs. Koenig, she shared her perspective with us about why she does what she does and what she hopes to achieve in the District:

“I want to be a part of our students and families journey in life. That does not begin or end at the bell of school. With the support of our amazing teachers we have been able to work with families outside of school to help them find support or to offer educational and fun nights for families. We did a game night, paint night, and siblings night. We try to ask the parents how we can support them and find the right people to support us. Every child counts and trying to help give families the confident to be their child’s advocate is important in school so that when they don’t have their school team they can still be the voice to fight for what is best.” Kathy Koenig, Director of Student Service and Special Education.

With all the things we often hear about what’s wrong with having people truly understand why Autism Awareness is still important and why having a functioning relationship between the school team and parents and the individual that hopefully learns to advocate for themselves as well, it’s truly humbling to get to meet a team of people that gets it.

To us, the team is always the individual who has the Autism Diagnosis, the parents or caregivers, the education and support team, and anyone and everyone in the community that chooses to be a voice for positive change and understanding.

Congratulations Everett on all your accomplishments and for reminding us about why we fight on!

2017 Edge of Autism Walk and Festival

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Join The Tommy Foundation for Autism and Related Conditions for Autism Awareness Month to celebrate our 10th Annual Edge of Autism Walk & Festival. Help us raise Awareness for Autism with signs and messages both proceeding and during the event–live and on social media–to let others know what autism means to you and your loved ones. Join us after the Walk at Buchanan Park for a Festival with rides, games, prizes and more and where the theme is always one of Acceptance for our loved ones.

Visit Our Edge of Autism Website and Register

Isaac’s Fundraiser – March 2017

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Come join us the night before the Launch of Autism Awareness Month to see what you can do to be involved in April and for delicious food and drink! We will have a table at the event to chat and get to know more people from our community.

Fundraiser

TTF Isaac's Fundraiser for March 2016 FundraiserOn Friday, March 31, 2017, Isaac’s Downtown Bar & Grill will be holding a “Community Night” fundraiser benefiting The Tommy Foundation. Enjoy an evening out with your family and friends while supporting local families affected by autism. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the cost of your meal and beverages (yes, that includes 25% of alcohol sales as well) will go directly to The Tommy Foundation. Please support our efforts us!

You must bring the flyer OR have it on your phone so please don’t
forget it!

The form can be used for Dine-In, Takeout &
Online Orders at www.isaacsdeli.com!
Use coupon code FUND for online fundraiser orders.

2016 Edge of Autism Walk, Expo and Festival

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Join Central PA’s largest autism festival and expo by attending the 9th Annual Edge of Autism Walk, Expo and Festival on April 23rd, 2016, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania! Walk our route dedicated to our exceptional children and filled with important information about autism and autism awareness. This is our main fundraiser for the year, and we took your feedback from 2015 and are making some changes!

Find our more at the 2016 Edge of Autism website!

Lancaster Shop for a Cause 2016

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“Shop for a Cause” EXPO is an initiative of Lancaster Hempfield Rotary Club in conjunction with Park City Center. The EXPO will be held at Park City Center on Saturday, April 16th, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. A large portion of the proceeds from the expo will be shared with non-profit agencies exhibiting their services at the EXPO. The agency receiving the most votes on the day of the EXPO will receive $3000, second place $2500, third place $2000, fourth place $1500. Two additional agencies will be randomly selected to receive $500 each.

Meadia Heights Golf Tournament

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Join us for the 2015 Meadia Heights Golf Tournament.

More details to follow, so stay tuned.

Friendly’s 2015 Autism Awareness Month Fundraiser

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Join us at Friendly’s on Centerville Road for a meal and ice cream and Friendly’s will donate 20% of the proceeds to the Tommy Foundation and our local autism efforts.

Be sure to bring the flyer with you!

AC Moore Autism Fundraiser

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Shop at AC Moore all day this day and the Tommy Foundation will earn 10% of the proceeds to benefit local autism! Please be sure to bring a copy of the flyer!

Issac’s 2015 Autism Awareness Month Fundraiser

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Join us on April 1st to open Autism Awareness Month at Isaac’s on Centerville Road for a Community Night benefiting the Tommy Foundation. Enjoy an evening out with your family and friends while supporting local families affected by autism. 25% of the cost of your meal will go directly to the Tommy Foundation.

Be sure to bring this flyer with you!

Five Below 1 Week Fundraiser

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Books, electronics, phone cases and charges, sporting goods, games, t-shirts, jewelry, bath and body, candy, snack and beverages, room decor, storage, plus much more. And everything is priced $5 or less!

JUST IN: Easter decorations, candy, and sign up for email and get our flyers.

A one week fundraiser for autism! Come to either of the three locations below and bring the flyer with you and

10% of the dollars spent will be donated back to the Tommy Foundation!

Hawthorne Centre
2068 Fruitville Pike
Lancaster, PA
717-581-1584

Rockvale Outlets Store
35 South Willowdale Drive
Lancaster, PA 17602
717-393-2448

York Town Center
2825 Concord Rd
York, PA 17402
717-755-4008