Donna Swanson, executive director of the FOCUS Center for Autism and Fresh Start School, has one goal in mind: celebrate the attributes that make us unique and enrich our communities. With that in mind, FOCUS will be celebrating April’s National Autism Awareness Month with their first annual “Autism Sweets” fundraiser benefiting their art and physical education programs.
“Like other schools, we hold a couple fundraisers throughout the year. But for April, we also want a celebration. ‘Autism Sweets’ is a way of inviting businesses and neighbors to come together in a fun way that benefits everyone,” Swanson said.
“Autism Sweets 2018” kicks-off April 1. It is built on a simple premise of flexibility and creativity: local CT eateries can choose to designate a dessert, appetizer, or other menu item as an “Autism Sweet” and an agreed-upon percentage of that item(s)’ sales during one day, week, or entirety of April will be donated to FOCUS.
The goal is to raise one thousand dollars by the end of April and showcase CT eatery offerings to the larger public.
“This really is a win-win for everybody,”Swanson said. “We raise the profile of local restaurants to a larger audience, patrons walk away with a tasty treat, and we get to work our way towards our art and physical education goals.”
To date, Kenzie Kakes in Southington, the Underground Deli in New Britain, J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville and GIV Coffee in Canton have all signed on as “Autism Sweet 2018” partners. Others are in the process of joining. Partnering vendors will display an “Autism Sweets 2018” flyer indicating their participation to patrons.
The creative community spirit is indicative by how the varying establishments are choosing to participate. CCSU-favorite lunch stop, the Underground Deli, is recreating one of their famous sandwiches in honor of “Autism Sweets 2018.” GIV Coffee in Canton will be donating one dollar for every waffle ordered.
“As with most businesses, we are inundated on a daily basis with requests for donations and we are often put in the difficult position to make hard decisions on which ones to support,” Greg Gardner, manager of J. Timothy’s Taverne – renown for their chicken wings – and in-law to Swanson, said.
“Focus Center for Autism pretty much checks off all the boxes for the criteria we consider when choosing a recipient. They are a local, small nonprofit business doing wonderful work within the Autism community […] Their commitment to these kids and young adults they cater to is genuine […]. It is our hope that our participation in this program will enable them to continue their mission.”
The partnering establishments’ generosity confirms what Swanson has always felt about the CT towns she and FOCUS have served over the past 18 years. “It really does take a village to help us achieve the goals we set out to do. We are humbled and delighted by everyone’s response, and can’t wait to celebrate our neighbors as people to step into their shops and try out their delicious food,” Swanson said.
“Autism Sweets 2018” runs for the entire month of April. For a comprehensive and continuously updated list of participating vendors, visit the FOCUS Center for Autism Facebook page, or call the center at (860) 693-8809.
The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.
The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.
Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61
MERIDEN — A number of recent attacks on places of worship across America – including Connecticut– have many religious leaders beefing up security, but in spite of that, a Meriden mosque is fighting hate with awareness. The Baitul Aman Mosque participated in Open Mosque Day on Saturday where mosques across the country open their doors to the non-Muslim community to share their faith with others. “We always keep our mosque open so that we build bridges and get people together to […]
MANCHESTER — A serious accident involving a scooter and a car, sent a man to the hospital Saturday night. Police said the incident happened in the area of Spruce Street and Maple Street. Witnesses told police that the scooter struck the car then ran into a building. The driver of the scooter was said to have suffered serious head injuries and was transported to the local area hospital for treatment. Police said that the injuries are non-life threatening. The driver […]
NEW HAVEN — Women who lost children to gun violence were among a crowd that gathered to break ground on a new Connecticut garden that will honor hundreds of victims killed by firearms dating back more than 50 years. The New Haven Register reports nearly 100 people took part in the ceremony Saturday at the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing Dedicated to Victims of Gun Violence. The garden is expected to open by the spring of next year and […]
No tolls CT rally held front of State Capitol in Hartford to speak out against the governor’s tolls plan
HARTFORD –Governor Ned Lamont has been trying to gain support from residents and lawmakers to support his proposed tolls plan. However, people to the steps of the State Capitol Saturday afternoon to say no. The No Tolls group delivered a petition to the governor’s office on Thursday. “100,000 signatures – multiple towns passing bi-partisan resolutions that say no tolls,” said Republican Representative Laura Devlin of the 134th District. The proposed plan would have 50 gantries along major highways, including Interstate […]