Magic Moments benefit raises more than $60K for autism

The Kennedy Center’s Autism Project recently celebrated two milestones: the 10th anniversary of its Magic Moments benefit and how these vital community programs have touched the lives of more than 500 families.

The event was held on held April 30, at The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company, and included inspirational speeches from Kristine and Pietro Andres of Fairfield, the co-chairs and event founders. In total, Magic Moments raised more than $60,000 for the Autism Project.

The event featured a craft beer tasting, food stations and entertainment including stand-up magician Derek Hughes, the first runner-up from 2015 America’s Got Talent and music from the Fry Daddys. Harry’s Wine and Liquor Market hosted the craft beer tasting which included local microbreweries, Half Full Brewery, Fairfield Craft Ales, Stoney Creek Brewery and Two Roads Brewery.

This benefit was planned by The Kennedy Center’s Autism Project, which provides affordable accessible programming for local children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Magic Hat Sponsors were 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 included 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.

Thanks to the funds raised ten 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 500 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 we are dependent on our donors, who are the lifeline for raising these greatly needed funds. “

“As a result, our next fundraiser, the Second Annual Autism SpectRUN at Great Hollow Lake, Wolfe Park, Monroe has been planned for Saturday, Sept. 24.”