On Friday, May 16, 2008, Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright paid a visit to the KEEN Program housed at the Embarcadero YMCA in San Francisco. KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) is a national, nonprofit volunteer-led organization that provides one-to-one recreational opportunities for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families and caregivers.
Highlights from KEEN visit
(YouTube video, ~2 minutes)
At least 80% of the athletes who participate in KEEN programs are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Recently, Autism Speaks Family Services Committee awarded KEEN with a $14,285.00 Community Grant. This much needed aid will help KEEN to further develop their programs for kids with disabilities. Disabled kids are at greater risk of leading isolated and sedentary lives. KEEN's mission is to foster the self-esteem, confidence, skills and talents of its athletes through non-competitive activities, allowing young people facing even the most significant challenges to meet their individual goals.
Suzanne Wright had the opportunity to watch the KEEN program in action and meet with KEEN San Francisco top leadership, as well as KEEN USA Executive Director Linda Roth Platt. Suzanne was delighted to see how Autism Speaks is making a real difference in the San Francisco Bay Area.
KEEN currently operates eight locations throughout the country including, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, New York City, Washington DC and San Francisco. The Autism Speaks grant will provide some of the funding needed for additional KEEN locations.
For more information on KEEN and its programs, please visit www.keenusa.org.