‘Going Wild’ event raises money for Autism CollaborativeWritten by Emily Gibb | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Children’s Hospital will host Going Wild for Kids! It is a fundraiser on March 24 to benefit the Autism Collaborative.
Co-chair Meredith Sherman had twins, Kate and Alex, five years ago. On top of the worries most first-time mother’s face, her babies were born six weeks early and spent more than three weeks in Toledo Children’s Hospital neonatal care unit.
“As a new mom, it was a scary time for us and the hospital staff was amazing,” Sherman said. “The doctors, the nurses and the support staff made us feel everything was going to be OK, and it was. They totally put us at ease.”
While her children are not autistic, when their health improved, she wanted to help the hospital in any way she could, she said. She joined the Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation Board. The foundation receives and directs charitable contributions on behalf of the hospital.
Money from the event will go toward the foundation and the Autism Collaborative, a community effort to coordinate services families need for autistic children.
“There are lots of different resources around Toledo for autistic children and families, but they’re driving around to all these different specialists. This is hoping to be a catch all,” Sherman said
Catina Harding, executive director of the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, said that she is looking forward to promoting the collaborative in the community, especially at the fundraising event.
“What we really want to do is create a coordinated effort to make a network of care where all of the different partners are communicating with each other in an organized manner,” Harding said.
The first phase of the collaborative, Sherman said, will help families in the recognition stage — around age 2 — when children are first diagnosed. As it grows and as funds allow, they will add different resources building from the early stages upward.
Other organizations involved with the Autism Collaborative include Harbor, the Autism Model School, the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio, University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Help Me Grow, Bittersweet Farms, Perrysburg Schools and Mercy Health Partners, Harding said.
“While everything will not be under one roof — we will continually work with all partners to ensure the families are aware of all services available as well as how to access each,” she said.
The collaborative already accomplished creating a sixth through 12th grade after school program for autistic children and are trying to establish an early intervention program at Toledo Children’s Hospital.
The group has also established the Autism Collaborative Council, a group that will meet on a regular basis to assess and address the needs and strengths of services that serve families affected by autism, Harding said.
“The goal is to create a community network of care that will develop a highly personalized treatment plan for each family and provide support for each phase of each child’s life,” she said.
The butterfly-themed night will have both a silent and live auction and a video that will explain the Autism Collaborative. It will be the first time the video is viewed by anyone outside of those who made it, Sherman said.
Going Wild for Kids! begins at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, Perrysburg. Tickets are $100 each. For more information, call Toledo Children’s Hospital at (419) 291-3493.
Tags: Autism, Autism Collaborative, Bittersweet Farms, Bowling Green State University, Going Wild, Harbor, Help Me Grow, Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Mercy Health Partners, Perrysburg Schools, the Autism Model School, the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio, Toledo Children's Hospital, University of Toledo