Island Autism Group says thanks

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To the Editor:

As the new year gets underway, the Island Autism Group would like to thank the Island community for its support in 2015.

With their help, and especially Island artisans and businesses, the IAG hosted its annual Summer Tea at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House in Edgartown. This event is always a win-win, with participants buying raffle tickets to win everything from a night out to wampum jewelry, to gift baskets full of local flavor. The Summer Tea has brought in more than $62,000 for the IAG since its inception.

Oak Bluffs’ Blue Water Classic is a relatively new event that attracts fishermen from on and off the Island to the Oak Bluffs harbor in July. These generous participants in the tournament have contributed nearly $12,000 to the IAG in just two summers. During the event, the Island Autism Group staffs a booth on the harbor, sharing information about autism and selling raffle tickets. Then, during the awards dinner at the Lampost, IAG representatives talk about the group’s mission as the fishermen dig deep into their pockets and support the IAG, buying more raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes donated by businesses.

The Island Autism Group recently received a Tower Foundation grant and a grant from the Sacco Charitable Foundation, helping us to work toward our goal of an Island Autism Center.

The funds we raise go back into the community and benefit students in the form of music programming, therapeutic riding sessions, drumming, summer camps and more — all facilitated by Islanders. Community support allows us to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other technology to students, supporting their special education programs.

Without these events and the support of the Island community, the IAG would not be able to fulfill the needs of students with autism living on the Island.

We want to thank all of our partners and donors, and look forward to a wonderful new year and your continued support.

Kate DeVane, President
Island Autism Group