On Friday, February 22nd, we held our annual Greater Boston Awards Night Dinner. This year we did it in style! With one of the most popular Awards Nights in the world only two days away, we held it in an Oscar Night fashion.
The evening began with performances by the Boston Higashi School Jazz Band directed by Mr. Ueno. Their performance was incredibly moving and a true highlight of the evening. Following the event, Mr. Ueno said, “Some of our students played so freely that I was amazed because it was something that I've never heard during our rehearsals.” The Boston Higashi School’s mission is to help children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn to reach their full potential through a broad and balanced curriculum including academics, art, music, physical education, computer technology and social education.
Randy Price, a longtime supporter of Autism Speaks and Anchor at WCVB- Boston’s ABC affiliate, served as the evening’s fabulous host. Despite some initial difficulty opening the envelopes, Randy was an absolutely perfect host. He even filmed a clip for the “Wake Up Call” on Monday morning’s Eye Opener to provide more visibility to our cause and to recognize the teams, sponsors and community partners who helped us to raise more than $1M!
An Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grant was given to Dr. Rue, Executive Director of the National Autism Center. Autism Speaks awarded Dr. Rue and the National Autism Center a $25,000 grant for their Pathways Parent Education Series for Military Families. It showed our Community how our fundraising dollars helps those affected by Autism locally, as well as nationally.
We also heard from Tiger Stockbridge, father of an Autistic son, Christopher. He told his story from a father’s point of view, which we don’t hear too often. Tiger talked about Christopher from being a toddler, up until now, a 17 year old teenager who has a job and a driver’s permit! He also touched on the topic of being a dad, working two full time jobs so his wife could stay home with their son. Christopher was there with us on Friday night, cheering his dad on!
Awards were then handed out to our Top Teams of 2012. The Teamsers Local 25 received the Diamond Award for raising more than $200,000 for Autism Speaks! All teams that raised over $1,500 were recognized and treated to this special evening celebration. Awards were also given to our sponsors and to organizations within our community that helped promote the Mission of Autism Speaks and raise funds.
Throughout the event, we handed out Awards to Committee Members who really stood out this past year. We had “Best Committee Member in a Leading Role”, “Breakthrough Performer of the Year”, “Best Director,” as well as many others. The honorees were introduced and “winners” were announced in the classic Oscar theme with the presenter opening an envelope to discover the winner. Committee Chair, Melissa Voto, received a standing ovation at the end of the evening for her tireless work year round and for accepting another year as Greater Boston Committee Chair!
There were commercial breaks highlighting the Teamsters Light Up the Night Gala, Light It Up Blue, School Community Tool Kits, and our MA License Plate Initiative. All in all, it was a fun way to honor our top teams as well as committee members, board members and other important members of our community. Thank you to everyone who was a part of our success in 2012! We’re enthusiastically looking forward to another incredible year.