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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks, UNCF Partner to Help Student With Autism

April 21, 2015




The United Negro College Fund, Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Global Ambassador Toni Braxton, along with her son Diezel, have partnered to present a $10,000 scholarship to a student with autism at UNCF's An Evening of Stars.

Terence Brice, a freshman at Winthrop University in the Think College program, became the first student with autism to become a Rising Star scholarship recipient. During this special evening, Toni and Diezel presented Terence with his scholarship award. 

The purpose of the partnership is to encourage higher education and raise autism awareness among African-Americans. Studies show that minority children and those in lower socioeconomic groups tend to be diagnosed later than children in other communities, and as a result, they need more care later on. This partnership with UNCF is a chance to raise awareness in communities of color about early diagnosis, treatment, and Autism Speaks’ Tool Kits for families at every stage of life.

Toni Braxton, the seven-time Grammy Award winner and star of WE’s Braxton Family Values, credits Autism Speaks’ 100 Day Tool Kit with connecting her family with resources when her son Diezel, now 12, was diagnosed. It was Toni’s idea to establish this special scholarship.

Terence Brice is looking forward to taking a computer science course, working in the college bookstore, and becoming involved in a student organization. Already, he interns in the campus library. In the Think College Program at Winthrop, he works on social skills with a special-education peer.

Hosted in Atlanta by actor Anthony Anderson, the show brought together big names in entertainment, including Usher, Kevin Hart and Pharrell Williams, with UNCF's own "rising star" students to focus attention on the importance of getting into and through college. The show features performances by some of the top names in entertainment, as well as UNCF students talking about what higher education and UNCF support means to them. 

The show will air on BET Sunday, April 26 at 10pm EST.

Autism Speaks has developed a Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide to help individuals with autism and their families explore the different opportunities and learning environments after leaving high school. In addition, the Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund selects eligible colleges, vocational/technical schools and transition programs in the United States to identify qualified students or clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and offer scholarship funds of up to $5,000 per student and $25,000 per program. Find more postsecondary education resources here.