The nationally recognized non-profit organization received a portion of event proceeds to fund advocacy and support for individuals who are diagnosed with autism. The funds also go towards research into the cause and early intervention. A 55-inch television and several other items were raffled to raise money.
“Our whole goal is to connect with the local businesses and families and let them know there are resources here,” explained Melissa Dinuzzo, manager for Autism Speaks Palm Beach, as she passed out brochures about autism and answered questions. “We want to promote acceptance and understanding and also promote our March 4th Autism Speaks Walk to raise money.”
Autism Speaks Offers Family Support, Community Outreach
Florida Fine Cars signed on as a sponsor because the family-owned auto dealership is active in the community and a strong supporter of not-for-profit organizations.
“Autism Speaks is a lifeline for families with autistic children. It provides education, outreach and a huge array of resources for families who may otherwise feel frustrated or alone. It was an easy decision to become part of this worthy event,” said Jamie Suid, marketing director for Florida Fine Cars. “Helping kids is what it’s all about.”
About 2,000 local residents attended the event at the Meyer Amphitheater in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach.
According to the Autism Speaks website, the organization is “dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”
Increasing Autism Awareness and Acceptance is Organization’s Goal
Dinuzzo said events like the Jan. 13th one are important for increasing awareness about autism and helping to reduce stigmas that often result due to a lack of knowledge.
The event also provided a chance for Dinuzzo to plug the upcoming March 4th Autism Speaks Walk to raise money for the cause. The annual walk is a major fundraiser for the not-for-profit organization.
According to Dinuzzo, one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism and more than 70 million people worldwide are on the autism spectrum. The cost to care for a child on the spectrum is estimated at approximately $65,000, she said. Therapies such as physical, speech, and applied behavioral analysis are commonly used, she noted. Costly medications may also be part of treatment.
“You can look at someone on the spectrum and they look just like everyone else, but they might lack the eye contact,” she explained. Individuals on the autism spectrum may have a wide range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability. Those who suffer from autism may have ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
“We want to be that puzzle piece that connects the community to resources,” Dinuzzo said.
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Florida Fine Cars offers nearly 1,000 quality used cars for sale priced thousands below retail at its three locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach, just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in Hollywood and Miami. A fourth location recently opened in Margate. Stop by and drive home your dream car today!