Smiles meet Milestones at Strike It Big, while funding the Free Autism Helpdesk!
Posted on 03/01/23 in Strike It Big for Milestones
Milestones Autism Resources is holding our annual Strike It Big bowling fundraiser on March 19th, 2023, at Spins Bowl Independence. This fun, family-friendly event offers a day filled with bowling, face painting, games, pizza, a photo booth, and lots of laughs! But the best part is that this event funds the free Milestones Autism Helpdesk, which serves thousands of northeast Ohio families every year.
“Anyone can give us a call, anytime, and say ‘I need a (blank), I need a dentist, I need help navigating the IEP process,’ and they’re going to be paired with an expert in the field. And maybe that person has autism themselves, maybe that person is a professional in the field, or maybe that person is the parent of an autistic child themselves, but when they get connected to get that resource, they’re actually getting someone with lived experience that can walk them through that step in their journey,” explains Milestones Program Director Beth Thompson.
Milestones Client and Board Member, Terri Eason, says the Helpdesk was a crucial step in her son’s success.
“We were able to obtain a whole list of various organizations that provide scholarships for young people who wanted to pursue higher education who are autistic. And so [our son] was successful in receiving a scholarship and that allowed him to get accepted to a college, graduate in 4 years, and now I am happy to say he is gainfully employed and loving life,” Eason says.
The resources provided through the Helpdesk are already vetted. Anyone can use the Helpdesk to find the best services for their family, friend, client or self. Milestones staff then does the research for you, creating a customized list of resources based on your request.
Client and Board member Nicole Crews says that is what makes the Milestones Helpdesk so unique.
“They’ve been able to identify camps, SLPs, a variety of things that, left to my own devices, I’m just not aware of,” Crews explains. “You're going to work with individuals that know the space of autism, and I think that is critical, especially for families who don’t have a lot of time. They need to know the resources they’re provided are gonna be great for their kids. They’re gonna be the right fit.”
Milestones Program Manager Nathan Morgan has been part of the Helpdesk social work team for several years. As an autistic self advocate, he says he feels a very personal connection to the clients he has served.
“When I started working in the Helpdesk as an intern, I was helping people get connected with scholarships for college, I was helping families get connected with internships or certain types of employment, I was helping families get connected with therapies, and so many different things, and I could see myself in a lot of the different Helpdesk cases that we had. I could see my family,” Morgan says.
Strike It Big will take place Sunday, March 19th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spins Bowl Independence. Click here to learn more about how to donate or set up a team.