KCET Partners with Verizon Foundation for Special Live On-Air Event 'Autism: Coming of Age' November 8 at 8 PM

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Hosts include SoCal Connected’s Val Zavala and Wheel of Fortune’s Jim Thornton With on-set appearances by Timothy McCallion, Verizon Foundation and Lori Gangemi, President and CEO of AbilityFirst

KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station serving Southern and Central California, is pleased to partner with the Verizon Foundation for a special live on-air event Autism: Coming of Age, November 8, 2011 at 8 p.m.

The special event, hosted by SoCal Connected’s Val Zavala and Wheel of Fortune’s Jim Thornton, explores the complexities and challenges of Autism and includes on-set appearances by Timothy McCallion, Verizon’s West Region President and Lori Gangemi, President and CEO of AbilityFirst, an organization that provides programs and services to help those with physical and developmental disabilities reach their full potential. Parents and grandparents of children enrolled in AbilityFirst programs will also be present.

Autism: Coming of Age provides an inside look at the lives of three adults with autism and includes interviews with their families and support teams. Autism and disability experts from Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania also discuss the current system, impending challenges and possible outcomes for the future.

“We are pleased to be able to help raise more awareness and support around such an important topic that can be so demanding on families and difficult to navigate,” said Bohdan Zachary, vice president of Broadcasting & Program Development for KCET. “The show also demonstrates the exciting new developments around the disability and how organizations like AbilityFirst are trailblazing new opportunities for those living with Autism.”

In lieu of thank you gifts, a portion of the proceeds raised will be used to help fund camp and program scholarships for children and adults served by AbilityFirst. For more information on Austim: Coming of Age, or to learn how to become involved visit kcet.org.

About KCET

On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET currently produces the Emmy®, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Award-winning SoCal Connected, a hard-hitting prime-time weekly television news program that examines the issues and people of Southern California. Throughout its 47-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET's operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org.

About Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the Verizon Foundation, visit http://www.verizonfoundation.org.

About AbilityFirst

Through 24 locations across Southern California, AbilityFirst provides programs and services to help children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities reach their full potential throughout their lives. We offer a broad range of employment, recreational and socialization programs and operate 12 accessible residential housing complexes. You can view our agency brochure, here, in PDF format.

Most AbilityFirst programs qualify for funding through the state-supported Regional Centers. However, government support provides only about half of the dollars necessary to deliver high quality programs and services. As a nonprofit organization, we rely heavily on the generous support of hundreds of donors who share our vision.


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