Raleigh Student Gives Time to Help Others

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At just 12 years old, Vibhu Kumar Subramani is a successful and innovative fundraiser for the Autism Society of North Carolina. Vibhu, who attends Carnage Middle School in Raleigh, raises money by collecting and recycling used cooking oil with the company Key Energy, based in Pittsboro.

The seed for Vibhu’s project was planted when he was even younger. In 2010, when he was vacationing at Disney World with his family, he saw a person with autism and wanted to understand more about her. “My parents told me that I could help if my empathy could be turned into contributing my share toward her benefit,” Vibhu said.

vibhu-oilIn a little more than a year, Vibhu has raised more than $300 to benefit individuals and families affected by autism. He spends a couple of hours each month distributing brochures and collecting used oil from households. Key Energy then picks up the oil from his house. The company also collects oil directly from restaurants that have signed a contract with Vibhu. He is then paid for the oil that is collected and donates that money to ASNC.

Helping ASNC is the right thing to do, Vibhu says, and this particular project also benefits the environment by properly disposing of waste oil. In his letter to prospective clients, Vibhu tells them “we can turn the waste cooking oil into bio-diesel and eliminate some CO2 from our atmosphere.”

“We are so impressed with Vibhu, who at such a young age has channeled his passion for the environment into helping individuals with autism,” said Kristy White, ASNC Chief Development Officer. “He clearly is going to be a strong leader in the future, and this experience will help him toward his goals.”

Vibhu says he plans to keep up his fundraiser until he goes to college, “donating to help the people who need help most.” He also spends some of his free time volunteering with children with autism.

Vibhu aspires to be a doctor someday, and his compassion for others and his work ethic will surely carry him far.

 

Putting the “Fun” in Fundraiser

 

It’s the middle of summer, and you have a bit of breathing room before the crazy round of activities cranks up again. Why not have a little fun and raise some money for people with autism and their loved ones at the same time?

We’ve got some ideas to get you started:

 

People love to eat!

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Neighborhood cook-off: You know that neighbor who always says he makes the best ribs? What about the one who brags about his secret sauce? Let them show off their skills! Pull those grills into the middle of the cul-de-sac and fire up everyone’s competitive spirit. Put out cans and have people taste and vote for their favorite by donating to the corresponding can. Winner of the cook-off is the one with the most donations. You’re the real champion for helping people with autism!

Progressive dinner: We love having people over for dinner, but it’s daunting to think of making all the food yourself. With a progressive dinner, you and several neighbors can each make and serve one course. Easy as pie! At the end of the night, each family can donate to ASNC the amount they would have spent on such a lovely evening at a restaurant.

Pie-eating contest: Speaking of pie, there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who would love an excuse to eat a ton of pie, and those who would love to watch and laugh. Bring them all together with a pie-eating contest. You could charge admission or just ask for donations. You could sell extra pies to be eaten in the privacy of spectators’ own homes. Everyone loves pie!

 

Sell, sell, sell

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Lemonade stand, bake sale, Krispy Kreme sale: Did we mention people love to eat? Find a high traffic spot to set up your stand on a Saturday morning, and get some cute kids to make the pitch with you. Tell passers-by you’re improving the lives of people with autism here in NC, and they’ll be thrilled at the excuse to indulge their sweet tooth.

Community yard sale: You have too much stuff. Your kids have too much stuff. Your neighbors have too much stuff. Why not schedule a neighborhood yard sale – or one at your school or place of worship – and donate the proceeds to ASNC? You’ll get rid of stuff and help a good cause at the same time. Win-win!

 

We know it’s hot, but get outside

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Pool party: It’s been a month since graduations, and a few weeks since the Fourth of July. People are ready for another party! Check whether you can schedule one in your neighborhood pool or another local pool. You may not be able to charge admission, but popsicles and other cool treats are sure to sell quickly. You can also offer other fun activities for the kids, like face-painting, in exchange for donations.

Scavenger hunt: People of all ages can get into a scavenger hunt. Make it a family event and look for safe locations, such as open parks away from traffic. Type up a list of clues, pick up a few small prizes and some bottled water, and you will have created a unique day of fun for teams of families. They’ll be so grateful at getting their kids outside for some activity, that they just might donate a portion of what they would have spent at a local venue!

Kiddie carnival: Bring in the clowns! Bring in the water balloons to toss, beanbags to throw, and cans to knock over! Add some refreshments, a magician, and some face-painting, and you’ve got a full-blown carnival for the wee ones. Charge one price for admission or sell tickets to activities – either way, it’s way cheaper than Disney.

 

Team up with local businesses

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Awareness night: Local businesses love to give back to their communities. Do you have a restaurant you go to every Friday night? Or an ice cream store nearby that the kids all love? Talk to them about holding an autism awareness night. You spread the word to bring in people, and they donate a portion of proceeds to improve lives and support families. We’d be happy to help you get the word out!

Donation cans: Never underestimate the impact of the can on the counter. Get your kids to decorate a bunch of them – be sure to include a message about helping people with autism – and ask businesses to set them out. Keep in mind, this does require follow-up to go back and collect the proceeds.

 

In it to win it

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Volleyball, kickball, or cornhole: Team tournaments are great for weekend warriors – not too much skill required, and little risk of injury. You could charge admission for teams, sell refreshments, even put out cans so spectators can vote for the team they think will win by donating. Get local businesses to serve as sponsors and provide refreshments to sell, and you’ll be able to donate even more!

Golf tournament: This would be a little more involved and require some coordinating with a local facility, but if you are already part of a tournament, why not see whether it can benefit the Autism Society of North Carolina? Or you can come to our annual tournament for Camp Royall, held each year at The Preserve at Jordan Lake in Chapel Hill. Ask us if you’d like more info.

 

Working for the giving

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Parents’ night out: Here’s a perfect idea for your teenager’s sports team or youth group! They find a kid-friendly location such as a local church, pick a date, and advertise that they are offering three hours of drop-off fun for kids of a certain age. Parents will be happy to have the time alone, the cared-for children will have a ball, and the teenagers will, too, because they’ll be with friends.

Car wash: We don’t think we need to explain this one. Or are you one of those people who washes their car every Saturday morning?

 

Any of these ideas catch your fancy? Contact Kristy White at kwhite@autismsociety-nc.org or 919-865-5086 to talk it over. ASNC would love your support!

HPU Lacrosse Team Steps Out to Improve Lives in Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism

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The High Point University men’s lacrosse team has quickly established a winning tradition in the first four years of its existence, but for Triad families with autism, some of the team’s off-the-field stats are what make the players outstanding:

4 years of participating in the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism as a team
56 lacrosse players ran last year
$7,291 raised since 2011

The team has become a familiar sight at the annual fundraiser for the Autism Society of North Carolina. The players come straight from practice and “basically show up as the gun is going off for the race,” said Associate Head Coach Pat Tracy.

They might arrive at the last minute, but that doesn’t reflect their dedication. Each year, every player on the roster registers for the Run/Walk and takes the time to seek donations from family and friends beforehand. “We have really great kids who care a lot,” Tracy said. “They’re definitely not hesitant to go outside of their comfort zone to help.”

Tracy has a stepbrother with autism and had participated in fundraisers for the cause in Baltimore before coming to High Point. It was his idea to make the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism one of the team’s many community service projects. The first year, their team had just 19 players; last year, they were up to 56. “The guys have been unbelievable in being supportive of it,” Tracy said.

15358636360_cf335862b8_zNick Bittner, a fifth-year senior, has been part of the lacrosse team since the beginning. Participating in the Run/Walk for Autism meant a lot more to him last year, though, after he spent the summer working with children with autism during an internship with the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Bittner was part of a team led by a clinical psychologist that was teaching social behaviors.

“It really opened my eyes to see what autism is, and to see the effort it takes for families who have children that have autism,” he said. Last fall, Bittner shared his experiences with his teammates. “I had seen firsthand what donating to the Autism Society could do to help people with autism.”

Bittner, who is a biology major and hopes to attend medical school, is now considering the autism field specifically. “I definitely found a certain passion for it,” he said.

In the meantime, he’ll join his teammates one last time for the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism on Sept. 26. Coach Tracy said they wouldn’t miss it.

“We’re excited. Our guys look forward to it every year,” he said. “Our guys really do enjoy being out there. They enjoy supporting the cause and supporting the community and the families.”

Step out to improve lives in the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism on Saturday, Sept. 26! The event at UNC-Greensboro will include a 5K race and a recreational 1K run/walk. Celebrate autism awareness and acceptance with music, refreshments, and vendor space that will showcase local businesses, service providers, support resources, and sponsors. Proceeds will fund local programs of the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Register today: http://www.greensbororunwalkforautism.com