Nonprofit Raises Support for LA Autism Medical Clinic

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With approximately 450 guests in attendance, Special Needs Network (SNN) successfully raised over a quarter of a million dollars to help build a specialized medical clinic that will serve children with autism and other developmental disorders in South LA.

special needs children

Special Needs Network

We are building something we can be proud of. We are building a model that can be replicated in other communities. That’s certainly worth celebrating and that’s exactly what we did this past weekend

During its 8th Annual Evening Under the Stars Awards Show and Gala sponsored by Toyota and CBS/KCAL9, Special Needs Network was joined by 450 guests including celebrities, elected officials, distinguished community leaders and parents of kids with autism to raise awareness and support for a specialized autism medical clinic set to open in South LA in 2015. The exclusive, star-studded event was held on Oct. 5 at The Ebell of Los Angeles and emceed by popular CBS sports broadcast personality Jim Hill and actress Vanessa Bell Calloway. The 1920s-themed event raised $275,000 to help fund LA’s first-ever autism medical clinic. The new clinic will provide access to quality medical and developmental specialists to children with a range of disabilities and their families.

Part of the highlights from the evening included SNN honoring three individual who have committed their lives to enriching their communities and making a difference for underserved children and families. This year’s honorees were LA businessman and philanthropist Austin Buetner; actress, activist and author Sheryl Lee Ralph; and Bryon Reed, LA community leader and vice president at Wells Fargo Bank.

Reed, recipient of SNN’s Outstanding Corporate Citizen award said, “I am very humbled and honored to be recognized by the Special Needs Network for trying to make even a slight difference in the lives of the families you serve and our greater community.” He, along with the other award recipients acknowledged SNN for their hard work in the community.

SNN founder and president Avera Martin Esq. presented the honorees’ with their recognition awards and discussed the organization’s legislative accomplishments from the past year. Martin also shared with the guests their plans to expand services in 2014 for children with autism – a condition that impacts one in 50 school children. She also unveiled the organization’s new logo before guests enjoyed a concert by Grammy-nominated entertainer Shanice Wilson and B. Slade.

Since its inception, SNN has worked with more than 30,000 children and families and is known as California’s resource organization for autism advocacy and serving under-served populations, particularly African American and Latino communities.

“Evening Under the Stars is our pinnacle event,” explains Martin. “We would not be able to support our families without generous donations from our corporate and individual donors. Our annual event allows us a reason to come together and celebrate our collective work to end the disparities in diagnosis and treatment of autism in African American and Latino.”

The annual event was made possible by corporate and individual sponsors allowing proceeds from the event to benefit SNN’s project to build their autism medical clinic. This year’s sponsors included presenting sponsors Toyota and CBS/KCAL9, as well as the County of Los Angeles, Austin Beutner, NBC Universal, among many others.

SNN has been helping thousands of children with autism and special needs for nearly a decade and its plans to build the new autism medical clinic are an extension of that work as it will help address the fragmented medical care that currently exists for many families raising kids with autism, a system that creates a huge financial hardship for low- and moderate-income families.

In collaboration with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, the community health center will provide a medical home for children by offering much-needed comprehensive developmental and emotional assessments, routine medical checkups and care, as well as and a variety of therapies for free or low cost. The clinic will also offer a range of social services included family counseling, wellness classes, and advocacy training.

With the scheduled opening date of Martin Luther King Hospital set for early 2015, and other components of the health campus underway, the autism clinic is yet another example of the healthcare renaissance taking place in South LA. With the rollout of Obamacare in 2014, SNN is excited about becoming a part of the community of providers that will help meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of LA’s children and adults who will have health insurance for the first time.

“We are building something we can be proud of. We are building a model that can be replicated in other communities. That’s certainly worth celebrating and that’s exactly what we did this past weekend,” states Martin enthusiastically.

To learn more about SNN, and their programs and to get more information about Evening Under the Stars, visit specialneedsnetwork.org or call (213) 389-7100. SNN invites anyone with questions or concerns about autism and other developmental disabilities to contact their office for information on available resources, programs and service providers.

ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS NETWORK

Special Needs Network (SNN) is based in Los Angeles and is California’s leading grassroots autism advocacy organization. As a nonprofit organization, SNN was established to help families faced with autism and other developmental disabilities. The organization focuses on raising public awareness, impacting public policy, increasing education and access to resources for families, children and adults.

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Jennifer Cherock
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