Splurge for a cause for Island Autism Group


Island Autism Group Inc. (IAG) is hosting a mini artisans festival on April 26 at The Wharf in Edgartown from 7:30 to 10 pm to help raise funds and awareness for their group.

The mothers of two boys with autism founded IAG in 2008 when they realized there was a need to supplement the existing Island programs that addressed their children’s needs. Their efforts grew into a Vineyard nonprofit, as of January 2011, that has a board of nine that is comprised of both parents of autistic children and professionals, so that they may offer a wide range of knowledge.

Their purpose is to help “Support preschool and elementary aged children living on the Vineyard to fund comprehensive therapeutic services, activities and programs, hard goods and equipment for educational growth and development of children with significant disabilities, to further integrate them into society. IAG also fund seminars, speakers, and workshops that advance and educate parents, teachers, and caregivers of children who do not fully participate in inclusive programs due to their disabilities,” according to IAG board member Lea Rosbeck.

Some of the programs currently offered by IAG to children with autism include horseback riding, music, drums, yoga, and swimming. In the future, according to their comprehensive website islandautismgroupinc.com, “We have dreams of developing a camp where families could come and visit the Island and meet other families. Children with Autism could receive sensory therapy, speech, and learn to swim, ride, paint and plant. Their siblings could meet. Their mothers and fathers could meet and learn about diet, iPads, approaches to daily living and living full happy lives with Autism. We have accomplished a lot and we realize that much of this is far off in the future, but we keep growing and are confident we will realize these dreams.” But only with your help.

Lucky for us, the group is hosting its next fundraiser just before Mother’s Day, so you will have an opportunity to help and get some shopping checked off your list. There will be several ways to give at the fundraiser, which is being held at The Wharf on Thursday, April 26.

You may purchase items from Island artisans, who will be set up in the back room of the restaurant. Included artisans will be Original Cyn Jewelry, Rebeccah J handmade leather goods, Vineyard Herbs, Soap and Skin care from Heather Thurber of Breezy Pines Farm, baby items from Jillian Badot, Stephanie Wolf Jewelry (Ms. Wolf will donate 20 percent of the night’s sales to IAG), knits and pillows from Cindy Bonnell, cards, photography, and ceramic tiles from Barbara Reynolds, along with beaded jewelry from both Sue Weyl of Weyflower designs and Norma Sigelman’s Created for You by Norma Jean, according to Ms. Rosbeck.

You may also purchase raffle tickets for items donated by the participating vendors as well as other local vendors. Raffle tickets at the event will cost anywhere from $2 a ticket to $30 for 20 tickets, with all tickets sales going directly to IAG. If you are unable to make the event, but would still like help, you may go online to their website, and under the upcoming events tab purchase a “Chance Pack” for $25, which will enter you once into each raffle item offered.

Finally, tickets, pre-bought for $5 from Donaroma’s Nursery in Edgartown, Basics Clothing in Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Complementary Medicine in West Tisbury, or $8 at the door, also goes to directly to IAG. Included with your ticket will be live music by Mike Benjamin and tasty appetizers donated by Edgartown Meat & Fish Market, Cronig’s Market, Chilmark Chocolates, and of course there will be some delicious food from The Wharf. There will also be a cash bar. For more information, visit the website or call Ms. Rosbeck at 508-627-3150.