The Comox Valley Child Development Association’s Autism Program is getting a boost through a donation from a fundraiser in the Lower Mainland.
Raised by the 2022 Agriculture for Autism Live Auction, $2,550 will be going to the program. Autism Program manager April Statz says the funding will be used to renovate and improve the program for users of all ages.
“We’re always looking for toys or improvements to our materials. Also, sometimes different sensory things for the kids that we might need,” said Statz. “There’s some changes I might make in some of the rooms here that might make it a little easier for some of our little kids.
“We’re always working on job skills with [our tweens], or friendship skills. The list is endless.”
Funds were raised with Agriculture for Autism Saccomaniacs, a golf fundraiser started in 2008 by Steve and Antoinette Saccomano.
The family has been expanding their funding efforts ever since, providing them to the Pacific Autism Family Network in Richmond, B.C. and other locations now including the Comox Valley.
Steve says the donation marks an important milestone in their fundraising.
“I’m very excited that we’re expanding our reach and assisting the Comox Valley to help with their child development association as well,” said Steve.
The funding and support also resonate with the owners of Viewfield Farms in the Comox Valley, Dave and Lisa Taylor.
Dave says they support Pacific Autism Family Network through the annual tournament, and Lisa’s connection to working with children with autism brings it close to home.
“My wife is a special needs teacher, and so that part of it excites us too,” Dave said. “She’s working with kids, she sees the success when there’s programs that are developed for kids with autism.
“So that excites me that good work can be done and continues to be done and continues to grow.”
The non-profit association was started in the Comox Valley in 1974. In 2021, over 1,000 Comox Valley children and families used its services. They have 17 programs along with community partnerships and support groups.