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Autism Alliance News: April 2019

EVERYDAY HERO is our…

NEW Autism Awareness Walk fundraising platform for 2019!  Visit http://autism-awareness-walk2019.everydayhero.do/ to explore the new site!  You can join a team, start your own team or make a donation (to support a friend or donate directly to AANENY).   The new site is so easy to use.  To support a friend just click Support a Friend and type their name or team name into the search bar.  Their information will auto-generate for you to click on.  To add a team or join an existing team click Start Fundraising and then Register and follow the prompts for Sign-up, Registration, Review and Confirmation.  Each team member can choose to set their own goals, add a photo of themselves and write a short description about why they are fundraising to share their personal story.  Each team captain can do the same.  You will be able to share your page with friends and family via email, Facebook and other social media.  

Spotlight on a Community Member: Meet Our Program Coordinator!

Jessica Perry began as Program Coordinator for AANENY in September 2016.   Jessica describes herself as the “mom to three amazing children and wife to my funny and awesome husband – Jason”.   She and her family have a dog named Koda.  Jessica says that they are a huge hockey family. For a good 9-10 months out of the year they eat, breathe and sleep hockey.  All three children and her husband play!  Jessica says that she is a “happy hockey mom”!   She likes to start each morning by watching or reading something funny or happy, so that she can start the day off on a positive note.  Jessica reported that her childhood dream was to become a marine biologist, but that dream has changed.  Now she wants to be a nurse!  In addition to working part time for AANENY Jessica is also a nursing student at Clinton Community College.  

Jessica first learned about AANENY from her sister-in-law, Aimee, who sent information her way about the open program coordinator position.  At that time Jessica was getting more involved in the autism community because one of her sons had recently been diagnosed.  The position has been a great fit for her, because Jessica really enjoys and is really good at planning and organizing events!  She’s been with the Autism Alliance for two and a half years now!  When asked what she finds most rewarding about working with the AANENY, Jessica responded that she really enjoys the grant process.  She loves delivering grant items to families and hearing how grateful they are and what value that grant items bring to individuals.  

AANENY is lucky to have Jessica on board.  Jessica demonstrates great enthusiasm in her work to support our mission.  She always carries herself in a professional manner and comes up with creative ideas.  Last October she did an outstanding job organizing our Temple Grandin conference!  She recently started “Did You Know?” posts on our Facebook page and she started our very own AANENY YouTube channel!   We are very happy to have Jessica on our team!!  

Grants and Endowments

Our grants have become an integral part of our outreach in providing support to individuals and families touched by ASD.  We regularly offer grants throughout the year.

Our technology endowment provides iPads, apps and other technology to individuals, to assist with communication, organization and greater independence in the home, community, and school.   Technology grant applications are open each winter and summer.

Our individual endowments provide funding to individuals for sensory equipment such as swings, trampolines, weighted blankets, etc. to assist with self-regulation, emotional control, and attention, for improved interactions and relationships in the home and community.  Individual grant applications are open each winter and summer.

Scholarship grants have been offered for several years to students with ASD pursuing higher education.  We recently expanded the scholarship grant to include funding for new grads who will be attending college to pursue a field related to clinical service that could benefit people with autism; we also now offer a scholarship for adults who wish to further their education in order to better support individuals with ASD, or improve their job prospects/advance in their current position.  Autism Alliance will award a limited number of scholarships annually up to $1000 for full time and $500 for part-time students.

Our agency grants are offered to non-profit organizations and schools.  These funds are specifically intended for program costs, such as new programs, equipment, and educational materials.  Agency grants are offered one time per year.  

Our newest grant, Community Offerings for Adults with ASD, is for organizations offering recreational and/or instructional opportunities for adults.  Funding provides valuable supplies or equipment that may be needed to run the class and foster social interaction among the participants.  These grant opportunities (2-$250 grants) are offered quarterly.

Please, check our website or follow our Facebook page to learn specific dates that these grants are offered.  

Processing Fees Explained

AANENY had to change our fundraising website. The Kintera site we used for the last seven years was no longer being supported and was phased out 3/31/19.  

Our new platform - Every Day Hero - allows an optional feature where donors can cover the transaction fees, if they would like to. This option was not available through Kintera. It is not required that donors cover the cost of transaction fees. If they don't want to cover the transaction fee, all they have to do is uncheck the box.

Transaction charges have always been associated with online donations. If a donor donated $20 online in the past, Autism Alliance received the net amount after fees were taken out. The donor did not see this. There is no way for us to get around paying credit card processing fees and transaction fees charged to maintain the site. Many fundraising platforms are moving to allow the option for donors to cover the transaction fee. The only way we receive 100% of the funds without fees is through donations by cash or check. Since moving to an online platform years ago, our donations have increased significantly and we know the benefits outweigh the necessary costs. We actually think this new feature is a nice option as it allows donors to cover the fee at the individual level, thereby increasing the amount Autism Alliance receives.

Our organization is made up entirely of incredibly dedicated volunteers and one part-time employee. We work very hard to limit the amount of unnecessary costs we incur.  We take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that all funds raised stay local to support individuals touched by autism in this community. Our group does a lot of sacrificing because we believe in our mission; all of our board members have a personal connection to someone with autism.  Our amazing bookkeeper, Kristen Carmichael, does all of the bookkeeping at no charge to the organization.  

Community Corner

Each quarter we will highlight an organization in our community that strives to support those with ASD.  Did you know that CLINTON ESSEX FRANKLIN LIBRARY SYSTEM has compiled several sensory kits that are available for loan throughout the tri-county area?  Visit their website at: https://cefls.org/  and enter “sensory kits” into the search bar to explore the various kits.  There is a kit to address communication skills, which contains six books (The Conversation Train, The Autism Activities Handbook, Where is it?, Why is it?, Who is it?, What is it?), DVD (Baby Babble), Family Talk Cards, Learn to Respond Appropriately Cards, Microphone Recorder, Hear Myself Sound Phone, Find It! game, Hoot Owl Hoot cooperative game, Tactile Alphabet Match-Ups, and sheets with instructions and activity ideas.  Other kit titles include For Siblings, Medical Visits, Exploring the Senses, Thinking About the Senses and Learning About Emotions.  All of which contain books, games, DVD’s and/or other materials to teach to the theme of the kit.  All kits come in a clear bag and are sanitized between uses.  CEF Library was able to purchase materials for these kits with grant funding from AANENY, which we were able to do because of generous donations from supporters like you!  

Office Space

AANENY now has office space located at Residential Resources of NY, 14 New York Road, Plattsburgh, NY 12903.  OFFICE HOURS are Mondays: 8:30 am – 11:30 am and Wednesdays: 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm.  Our Program Coordinator, Jessica Perry, may be reached at 518-354-7000.  Please, call in advance to confirm hours or to schedule time to meet with Jessica, if need be.  If mailing anything to us, please, continue to use PO Box 1884, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.

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