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  • Andrew Ward

Andrew's Gift 2018 Annual Newsletter

Season’s Greetings from Andrew’s Gift

Greetings to all of our friends and supporters who come together to enable Andrews Gift to support the Autism Community.  As we approach Thanksgiving, we all have so much to be thankful for.  At Andrew’s Gift, we are grateful to have the opportunity to enrich the lives of individuals who live with autism.  Although the autism community faces many challenges, they continue to provide inspiration to those of us who are a part of their lives.  To hear the stories of individuals who are now able to communicate, have transitioned from autism support classrooms to mainstream curriculum or experience the joy of having an iPad open their world is truly heartwarming.

This year, Andrew’s Gift surpassed $1 million in gifts that we provided to the autism community.  Throughout the years, we have been privileged to work with over 900 families who are both appreciative for the gifts that they receive and for the interaction with the professionals at Andrew’s Gift who provide advice and counsel to make the lives of each family better.

Our iPad training days have continued to be a success. We held three iPad training days this year and gave away over 90 iPads with rugged cases to prevent against damage.  We also provide a package of apps that we believe provides high impact development opportunities for the individuals with autism.  Often, these apps are centered around communication and assisting individuals with improving behaviors.  For each iPad training day, we assemble a faculty of 10 individuals with backgrounds that include speech and occupational therapy, special education, behavioral analysis and technology.  These professionals provide training to families throughout the day on how to use the iPad and package of apps.  Andrew’s Gift continues to be encouraged by the feedback we receive from the families we serve.  We consistently hear stories about improvement in communication, behavior and classroom development.

We continue to bring the knowledge and expertise we are developing in our iPad training activities to autism support classrooms in local school districts.  This year, we provided our technology and expertise to 45 students in four autism support classrooms across the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, Central Dauphin and Susquenita school districts.  We continue to be encouraged by the results we see in the classroom, especially in younger children who are at a critical developmental stage in their lives.  We are also inspired by the enthusiasm of the teachers and support teams in these classrooms, who have embraced the use of technology and are very excited about the developmental gains they are seeing in their students.  In 2019, we plan to expand our classroom reach in the current school districts that we are assisting and beyond.

In addition to our work in technology, we continue to provide gifts to the autism community in other areas.  Throughout 2018, we gifted fitness and exercise programs, summer camp expenses, swimming lessons, therapeutic horseback riding lessons and a variety of safety equipment.  Through these gifts, we are able to continue to fulfill our mission of directly improving the life of an individual with autism.

We want to say a special thank you to all who work with Andrew’s Gift to support us in serving the autism community.  We appreciate all of the encouraging thoughts that we receive from so many of you throughout the year, the volunteer efforts of our board members who work hard throughout the year to make Andrew’s Gift possible and the professional community who provide their expertise in developing programs for our iPad training and autism classroom support. Most of all, we are thankful to our generous donors who support Andrew’s Gift through direct donations or hold events to raise money for Andrew’s Gift, including our annual YogaThon, the Ray Chopper Memorial Golf Tournament and the Tee Off Fore Autism Golf Tournament.  We are truly blessed to have so many caring individuals coming together to support the autism community.

Andrew’s Gift will once again participate in the National Day of Giving on November 27th.  Last year, we successfully raised $24,000 through donations, which was matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donor, resulting in total funds of $48,000.  This year, we once again kindly have a donor to match 100% of the donations to Andrew’s Gift on the National Day of Giving.  It is important to note that all the donations we receive go directly to the mission of Andrew’s Gift.

Thanks to all of you who ask about Andrew.  He turned 31 in October and is doing very well.  He often talks about the work we are doing at Andrew’s Gift.  He joins as many of the activities we do throughout the year as he can.  He is very proud of the work that we do at Andrew’s Gift and is happy to see the benefits we are providing for the autism community.

We wish all of you and your families a happy holiday season.  Thank you for all you do for the autism community.


Andrew Ward

President of Andrew’s Gift

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