To help fund local programs and day-camps, Autism Services of Saskatoon relies on donations from big events like their annual Gatsby Night.
But due to the pandemic, those events were cancelled, and Autism Awareness and Acceptance month was bumped from April to October.
This October, they’ve launched the Sponsor a Child campaign to offset some of the funding lost due to the coronavirus.
The funding will also help to keep the staff-to-camper ratio high, helping to ensure close support and added attention to the campers.
Autism Services of Saskatoon has been offering day-camp programs for over 30 years to children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.
Over the three-decades-plus run, the camps have provided a profound and lasting impact on their campers.
During these camps, community partnerships are set up to take the campers around Saskatoon to enjoy a variety of activities.
“The children get to experience things that they’ve never experienced before,” development coordinator Carol Tebay said. “For many of them, they can’t access these things in regular settings.”
The safe and controlled social settings allow the campers to grow, while also helping to lessen their stress and anxiety.
“The experience of being able to build the social skills, access things they’ve never accessed before, being able to grow in those environments, build friendships,” Tebay added.
Tebay, who’s been with Autism Services of Saskatoon for six years, knows first hand how profound an impact these programs and camps can have on the campers lives. Her 24-year-old son David participated in them as a teenager, and it made a positive impact on his and his family’s life.
“With our family camps, with our family programs, you know, we’re helping children,” Tebay said. “But the benefit goes far beyond just helping those children. It’s helping the whole family, and then it ripples out to the community.”