Giving Tuesday, (#GivingTuesday) began in 2012 in response to the commercialization of the holiday season. It is a powerful reminder that the true essence of the season is about giving. This global day of generosity encourages people to contribute to charitable organizations, volunteer their time, and lend a helping hand to others.
Autism Connection of Pennsylvania: A Lifeline and Hub for Families and Adults
Autism affects millions of families worldwide. Autism Connection of PA is a non-profit dedicated to supporting autistic people and their families in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1996, Autism Connection has been at the forefront of the autism community, offering support, information, and advocacy.
The Impact of Giving Tuesday: Autism Connection of PA’s Key Initiatives
As Giving Tuesday approaches, Autism Connection of Pennsylvania relies on the generosity of individuals, businesses, and communities to continue our vital work. Donations on this special day can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by autism. Involvement doesn’t always translate into monetary donations. Sharing your experience, connecting with others, offering help, or simply spreading the word about our work can have a huge impact.
You Can Make a Difference
On Giving Tuesday, let’s rally support Autism Connection of Pennsylvania and the community we serve. By donating, volunteering, and spreading the word, we can contribute to a brighter and more inclusive future. Together, we can make a difference and embody the true spirit of the holiday season – the spirit of giving.
The Gingerbread Man Running Company’s Run for Autism Connection of PA is open for registration and volunteers. Autism Connection recently visited the new GBM store location in Shadyside, where sales associate, Aaron and store manager, Luke, showed us the process of finding the right running shoes. We also talked about the Labor Day Run for Autism Connection, and why it is important to Gingerbread Man Running Company.
Aaron (right) and Luke
Wall of running shoes
GBM Shares Some Memories from the First Run for Autism Connection
One of our store employees, Justin, won first place at the very first Race for Autism. This was before Justin was an employee and he did so well at the race it really sticks out in our minds. The first time Luke ran the Autism Connection half-marathon, Luke finished the race and ran back to help other runners get past the hill…he even brought them water and encouraged them to keep going! We think this is a great illustration of the spirit that the Race for Autism carries every year.
Luke “The Bike Guy” at the 2022 Labor Day Run for Autism Connection
Why We Support Autism Connection of PA
The behavioral and social boundaries that exist for autistic people can often make participating in events, like a race, feel daunting. Autism Connection reflects GBM’s goals to make exercising more accessible for everyone, by acknowledging the barriers that folks with autism face and working to eliminate those barriers.
Exercise accessibility is something GBM takes seriously and the benefits of steady movement and spending time outside can benefit anyone. We all know the physical benefits of consistent exercise, but it’s been shown there are several long-term mental health benefits of spending time outside and consistent movement. This race not only encourages holistic health, but also a sense of community.
Inspirational Words for the Runners
Any of these races- the 5k, the 10k, and/or the half are ACHIEVABLE! We all have different goals, but at the end of the day, just showing up is a win.
Artisan Gingerbread Man Cookie Visits GMB Running Company
Gingerbread Man trying on gear
Measuring the right fit
Trying on shoes and testing gait
Finding the perfect running shoe
This gingerbread man artisan cookie was part of a batch created by self advocate and professional baker, Rachel, in Pittsburgh.
Autism Connection of PA looks forward to this year’s Labor Day Run, and we welcome runners and volunteers to join us this September. We had a wonderful time at the 2022 Gingerbread Man Run for Autism Connection, and we can’t wait to see everyone in the upcoming event!
For those interested in running 5k/10k/Half-Marathon (or walking the 5k):Register Here
I was diagnosed with ADHD at 43. I always knew that I was different from my peers. Looking back, that difference created barriers and annoyed people at times. My non-stop chatter and impulsivity would lead to fights, self medication, and forced isolation during adolescence and early adulthood. I reflect now and I realize that physical activity helped regulate me; you may say it saved me. The structure and expectation of sports was key in my day-to-day success and when it was missing, the consequences were unpredictable.
Having a daughter with the same observable traits led me to encouraging physical activity and we experienced the positive outcomes of those daily challenges. That is how we live our lives together. As a family we participate in 5ks, competitive dance, competitive powerlifting, soccer, and terrain races. And now at age 50, I myself am training for my first Marathon!
This journey has already led to some meaningful moments in my life. I am thrilled that I can fundraise for a vital cause, and neurodiversity is now an open part of my personal life as much as it has been part of my professional life.
Jack Butler exudes passion for his work.
I have chosen to raise funds for the Autism Connection of PA, part of Achieva family of organizations where I have worked for 28 years. Autism Connection relies on fundraising to fulfill its mission to promote awareness and advocacy for and with autistic people. People who like me, may identify with being on the fringe of societal norms. Autism Connection is not focused on fixing people, but welcoming people to the table, supporting their goals, and valuing all perspectives.
By sponsoring me to run the Pittsburgh Marathon, you will help Autism Connection continue their good work and help all people lead lives of personal significance. What started as a therapeutic way for me to self-regulate has now turned into a way I can help meet some of the support needs of others. Please join me in this effort – I could use your encouragement every step of the way!
On Saturday, April 29, 2023, our friends at A Magical Fundraiser are hosting 13th Hour Entertainment and Autism Connection of PA for a casual night out at the Tonidale Pub in Robinson Township. A Magical Connectionis a fun, high-sensory event that benefits the region’s autism community.
This event features:
Mindwarp Show featuring Mentalist/Magician Steve Haberman with the vocal talents of Tracy Lynn
Disc Jockey and Dancing by Nite Life DJz
Basket Raffle and 50/50 drawing
Autism Connection of Pennsylvania spoke with the talented Tracy Lynn and the amazing Steve Haberman.
Autism Connection (AC): You’re involved in many different endeavors. Can you share about 13 Hour Entertainment, A Magical Fundraiser, the Mindwarp show, and your partnership?
Tracy and Steve (TS): 13th Hour Entertainment Inc. is a company specializing in family and corporate entertainment.We have combined withMagic Wand Princess Parties, Nite Life DJzand other entertainers to provideA Magical Fundraiserto help organizations that have fundraising needs. We provide the entertainment for these functions along with advice on how to make fundraising events successful. From years of working at these events, we have learned a lot about how the organization can maximize their efforts and money generated. Over the years we have worked with schools, fraternal organizations, companies, and other charitable organizations. Our Mind Warp Show is one of the most popular entertainment options for this type of event. It combines magic, comedy, and music into one show that appeals to all audiences.
AC: How did you become involved with A Magical Connection Fundraiser for Autism Connection?
TS: We have a lot of friends and family who have children or relatives that are on the spectrum. We have been wanting to do a fundraiser for a few years now to benefit autism awareness, because we think it is important for families to know the support that is there for them and truly feel accepted. With the pandemic, our plans were put on hold. We have a very close friend who has autism that guided us to the Autism Connection of PA, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with this foundation.
Tracy Lynn and Steve Haberman
AC: Do you have any outstanding experiences with people on the autism spectrum as a performer/artist?
TS: Many entertainers that work with 13th Hour Entertainment have performed for people on the autism spectrum. Magician Steve Haberman in particular, performs at numerous schools throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for school assemblies and there are normally kids at these events who have a range of disabilities, autism, and hidden differences. He has performed for children with special needs in smaller groups and birthday parties as well. Steve also provided magical entertainment for a convention at Pittsburgh’s David Lawrence Convention Center for an autism conference. During this conference, Steve performed multiple magic shows throughout the day for the kids while parents attended various meetings and lectures. It is our great pleasure to work with the Autism Connection of PA on a fundraiser for this very important cause.
Support for Autism Connection of PA directly impacts people of all ages facing many challenges related to autism. Contributions raised will fund: help for families seeking resources, development of inclusive, sensory friendly areas across Pennsylvania, first responder training, virtual and in-person workshops, school homeroom and assembly talks about hidden differences, educator and administrative training, justice system reform, and so much more.