Chipola Area Autism Resource Center awarded $6,200 grant

Marianna, FL – Chipola Area Autism Resource Center, Inc. (CAARC) received a $6,200 grant from funds generated through the sale of the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plates. The grant will support the Building Autism Social & Inclusive Connections (BASIC) program.

The Autism Services Grants Council awarded a total of $79,725 in grants to 14 Florida-based nonprofit organizations that provide services and programs for individuals with autism and related disabilities. The funds available through grant opportunities offered by the Autism Services Grants Council, are generated through the sale of the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plates.

Chipola Area Autism Resource Center is a 501c3 non-profit and is run by a board of volunteers.  All services that we provide to individuals and families in our community are done so at no charge to these individuals.  As parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), we realized many years ago, that we needed more services in our area, and they needed to be available, regardless of geographic, financial, or other barriers that may impede access.  This opportunity will allow us to expand the services we currently provide in Jackson County, as well as provide us the opportunity to better serve individuals in the surrounding counties of Calhoun, Liberty, Washington, and Holmes.

The Building Autism Social & Inclusive Connections (BASIC) project will consist of three age groups: elementary, middle/high school, and young adults.  The focus will be to teach social skills, life skills, pre-vocational skills, and provide recreational activities to expand their repertoire of leisure skills.  This project will allow us to expand on our current program that meets once or twice a month in Jackson County.  Our goal is to establish groups in our surrounding counties to build capacity within those communities to support individuals with autism.

BASIC will use a reproducible curriculum to teach skills, along with providing opportunities in center and the community to generalize what has been taught.  Parents will be taught the skills, as well, so that they can incorporate them into daily life.  Arts & crafts, music, interactive games, team projects, and other recreational activities will be included in this project.  Fieldtrips will be utilized to work on generalizing skills learned in the program, to a variety of other community based settings.

Chipola Area Autism Resource Center (CAARC) board members and other community volunteers will lead the BASIC project.  This will allow for sustainability, training, and building capacity in surrounding counties.  The funds received from this grant will allow us to purchase needed equipment, curriculum, recreational activity supplies, fund community outings/fieldtrips, and hire specialized instructors (e.g., artists, musicians, swim instructors, etc.).

During the summer, Florida nonprofits were invited to submit grant proposals and nearly 60 nonprofits from across the state applied for funding. Priority was given to creative and innovative approaches to serving individuals with autism and their families.

In 2009, the Florida Legislature authorized the “Support Autism Services” specialty license plate and provided for the creation of the Autism Services Grants Council. The Council oversees a grants process to fund service programs for individuals with autism and related disabilities and their families throughout the state.

For more information on the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plate, please visit www.autismlicenseplate.com.  For more information about Chipola Area Autism Resource Center’s programs, please visit www.caarcinfo.com or www.facebook.com/chipolaareaautismresource/.

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