Step Up and Shine For Autism Walk Canceled

Little Friends has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Step Up and Shine For Autism Walk.

Since 2009, the Little Friends Step Up and Shine for Autism Walk has raised nearly $500,000 to advance the mission and vision of our agency. Because you “stepped up”, Little Friends has:

• Expanded the Little Friends Center for Autism and laid the groundwork to include after-school Applied Behavior Analysis;
• Opened three additional homes for adults in our residential program furthering our mission of full community integration for our clients;
• Expanded Little Friends’ fleet of vehicles, adding three vans, to assist with the transportation needs of children and adults as they learn, work, and actively participate in our community.

Little Friends is forever grateful for your support of the Step Up and Shine for Autism Walk.

We know that you expect us to invest the limited resources we have prudently – focusing on the clients and families first. As such, we have conducted a thorough review of the return-on-investment of the Step Up and Shine for Autism Walk and determined that this particular event is no longer producing the appropriate return on our investment of time, talent and treasure. We are proud that 90 cents of every dollar you give us goes right to our clients and programs and we intend to keep that commitment.

Therefore, we have reached the difficult, but necessary, decision to discontinue the Step Up and Shine for Autism Walk.

Little Friends’ resolve to fulfill lives, regardless of challenge, is unwavering. In fact, we are working on new and innovative ways to create the energy, enthusiasm and fundraising results that accompanied the early days of the walk and will be sharing those ideas with you soon.

Together, we have accomplished so much for our clients and families. And, we know there is much more work to be done:

• More than half of the children that attend Little Friends’ school programs qualify for free and reduced lunch programs.
• One hundred percent of clients in our residential program fall below the federal poverty line.
• The need for therapy for children is greater than ever. While we have worked to subsidize evaluations and therapies for families in need, we have waiting lists for therapy and calls come every day from families in crisis.

Later this fall, Little Friends will embark on a campaign to expand our already popular Giving Trees Program. We hope to meet the most basic needs of the clients we support by providing food stability at Thanksgiving and Christmas, look for assistance in providing additional support for 17 families in crisis, and offer the opportunity to make the holiday season meaningful and memorable.

We thank you again for your steadfast support and look forward to your continued friendship moving forward.