This post is by Ann Gibbons, regional director for Autism Speaks, who recently visited a local supporter.
Wendell Williams, general manager of Koons Annapolis Toyota in Maryland, selected Autism Speaks to be one of the beneficiaries of Koons Automotive Companies 25 Days of Giving throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Wendell recommended Autism Speaks in honor of his son Kennedy, who has autism. Wendell presented us with a $5,000 check just before Christmas. He also shared with us the story of his son—a fraternal twin, now ten years old, who likes nothing better than to spend the day with his dad, running errands, eating out, and attending Baltimore Ravens’ games. Although Kennedy doesn’t speak, he clearly communicates his love for his family.
December has been a great month in our National Capital Area chapter of Autism Speaks. Our chapter board selected our inaugural Chapter Grants Program recipients across our region to directly support the innovative work of local autism service providers. The grants—which include first responder training, emergency room adaptations, respite camp, secondary school curriculum, and vocational training—will improve the lives of those living with autism today. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has generously supported research across our small but mighty state of Maryland. Maryland is also the home of an Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network site at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and yet there is so much more to do. We are especially grateful at this time of year for the support of and for our local families, Ravens and Redskins fans alike, living and working in our community.