A chili dinner, silent auction and raffle benefiting those diagnosed with autism will be held from 2 p.m., to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at the Ely Baptist Church which is located on the North By-pass in Kennett. Tickets for the event are $10 and includes the dinner, beverages and an entry in the raffle which will be held that afternoon. Additional tickets for the raffle can be bought for $1 each.
All donations received as well as proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Social Pragmatic Awareness Resource and Consulting Center (SPARC) of Jonesboro, Ark. According to Amanda Elliott, co-founder of Autism Communities Together for Southeast Missouri, a non-profit organization which is located in Kennett, SPARC is a school that local children attend that have been diagnosed as having autism, aspergers, and other developmental delays. Recently, the school has had to cut some programs due to lack of funding issues. The school offers therapy to children that have been diagnosed with autism and developmental delays such as cerebral palsy which encompasses Occupational Speech, Physical Therapy, and Applied Behavioral Analysis. Dayna Miller, ceo of the school, is needing help in order to keep accepting children with little or no cost to the families, regardless of the financial situation. Elliott notes that many children from Southeast Missouri who attend this school receive services from licensed therapists.
The school sponsors Social skills workshops every year and also includes a non-profit organization that features a pre-school for children with autism.
"My son, Jacob Elliott, attends SPARC three days a week. When Jacob first started SPARC, he was completely non-verbal, but after attending SPARC for one year, he can now recite the alphabet, count to 10 in English and Spanish and is continuing to improve daily, thanks to this school and Dayna Miller," Elliott said.
Items included in the raffle include a BeautiControl Gift Basket worth $100-$150, Bath and Body Works Gift Set worth $50, Yankee Candle Set donated from Andy's Creation, Free Photo Session from Kristen Swims Photography, $30 value, Gift Set from Polka Dot Rooster Boutique, value unknown, and free meals from Burger King, and a free photo session from Creative Moments Photography.
Items included in the silent auction include Legacy John Deere Item (it is not known exactly what is donated yet), Nexxus Products from Doris's Beauty Shop, John Deere Fleece Tie Blanket, Hot pink and zebra fleece tie blanket, oil changes from Glen Sain, oil change from Plaza Tire, tanning sessions from Sunsplash, LaDeDa doll donated by Walmart, throw blanket donated by Walmart, a throw rug donated by Sain's Flooring, gift basket from The Byrd's Nest, and a Lacoste Garment Bag donated by Goody's
For anyone wishing to make a donation or reserve for dinner, participants many just show up or they may pay ahead of time. It is preferable that individuals pay or reserve ahead of time, so it is known how much food to make. To do this, contact Elliott at (573) 344-3826, Michelle Owens at (573) 717-9443 or Leah Karnes at (573) 344-2651, also a co-founder of Autism Communities Together for Southeast Missouri.
ACTSM was founded in 2012 and its goal is to help local families affected by autism.
According to Elliott, special thanks go out to all the local businesses who have donated so far.