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Autism Awareness with Special Haven
by Ana Chuey

Orchard Park School was looking to do a presentation on Autism during Autism Awareness month in April. PTO board member, Shawna, learned about Special Haven and along with another board member, Theresa, they reached out to Special Haven to see if they could help. The date for the presentation worked out and Special Haven agreed to help. The PTO was also doing an autism t-shirt fundraiser and their plan was to donate part of the fundraising proceeds to a non-profit organization, and Special Haven was chosen to receive the donation, which was a wonderful surprise!

On April 21, 2017, Special Haven joined forces with PTO boardmember, Theresa Elser, who has a son with autism that attends Orchard Park, and they made 3 presentations to all the students and staff. The presentation included a short animated video created by an autistic boy named David, who explained what it is like to have autism. David and Ana Chuey, from Special Haven, shared important information with the students and Theresa Elser presented interactive activities which really got the students thinking. The presentation went extremely well and the students had lots of questions for David, Ana, and Theresa. School Principal Mrs. Del Chiaro was grateful and expressed the importance of awareness. Overall, this was a great connection for Special Haven. We not only received a generous donation of $450 (a portion from the t-shirt sales) from the school PTO, but also a $400 donation from Theresa and Danny Elser owners of Pacific Pride Distribution. These donations helped Special Haven complete the fundraising goal to purchase an Interactive Ladder for the sensory room in downtown Antioch. We are extremely grateful to Orchard Park School and Pacific Pride for their generosity and support!
We are open to doing this type of presentation again for any other schools that are interested as we would love to help spread awareness to as many people as possible.

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