Kennedy Center celebrates 10 years of Magic Moments

The 10th anniversary of Magic Moments, a major benefit for The Kennedy Center’s Autism Project will be held on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m., at The Warehouse, Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield.

The benefit kicks off with a social hour, a craft beer tasting featuring five local breweries and food at 7 p.m., followed by 2015 America’s Got Talent first runner-up, stand-up magician Derek Hughes at 9 p.m. The evening caps off with live music by The Fry Daddys at 10 p.m. Casual chic attire suggested.

This special event is the main funding source for The Kennedy Center Autism Project, which helps more than 450 local children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. This year’s event coincides with National Autism Awareness Month in April.

Harry’s Wine and Liquor Market is the host of the event. Sample craft beers from Half Full Brewery, Fairfield Craft Ales, Stoney Creek Brewery and Two Roads Brewery.

This benefit has been planned by The Kennedy Center’s Autism Project, which supports affordable accessible programming for local children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This year’s event coincides with National Autism Awareness Month in April.

The Magic Wand Sponsors are the Andres Family of Fairfield, the Carroll Family Fund, Jeff Dworken and Family of Easton, Mike Dworken of Fairfield, the Evensen Family of Southport, Frontier Communications, the Paul & Joy Horton Family Fund, and McCarter & English, LLP. At the next level, the Silver Ring Sponsors include the Blanco, Foley and Mayo Families, all of Fairfield; Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, Pediatric Healthcare Associates, Cognizant Technology Solutions and News America Marketing.

The co-chairs of Magic Moments are Kristine and Pietro Andres of Fairfield, past chairs and event founders.  Committee members include: Fairfield residents Chris Blanco, Wendy Bloch, Monica Matthews, Marinelle Mayo, and Tina Rembish; Southport resident Susan Evensen; Trumbull resident Martin Schwartz; Stratford resident Diana Paulin; Shelton residents Gina Ciliberto and Dottie Kellersman; Westport resident Jo Ann McMullan; Milford residents Lynn McCrystal and Renee Shallis; Monroe resident Monique Iken; Easton resident Peggy Ordway; and Deb Kane of Derby.

Thanks to the funds raised 10 years ago at the inaugural Magic Moments, The Kennedy Center opened The Autism Project — a program dedicated to providing affordable comprehensive programs and services to families and children with ASD.  Because of the generosity of many donors in the community, The Autism Project has served more than 450 families and become one of the leading providers in Fairfield and New Haven Counties of these supports for children with ASD and their families.

Established in 2006, The Autism Project provides children and families with information referral and resources; family support and service coordination, financial assistance, support for children in community activities, wrap-around supports, experienced staff and new services for unmet needs within the community.

According to the latest statistics, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder each year — a 30% increase over two years ago.  In Connecticut, there are an estimated 52,636 individuals who are ASD — 12,000 under the age of 18.  With these numbers, the need for affordable accessible program supports like those provided by The Autism Project is critical in helping children with ASD improve their quality of life and thrive in their community.

“After ten years, Magic Moments remains the largest funding source for The Autism Project,” said Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center.

“State funding is almost non-existent and more funding is needed to meet the growing demand. As a result, we are already planning another Autism Project event this fall, our Second Annual Autism SpectRUN at Great Hollow Lake, Wolfe Park, Monroe on Saturday, September 24.”

Tickets, at $125, may be ordered online at or call 203-365-8522, ext. 216.

The Kennedy Center, founded in 1951, is an internationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves 2,400 individuals annually. The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years. The Kennedy Center operates 30 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs.