Autism awareness fundraising event to be held downtown

The second autism awareness fundraising event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the corner of East Third and Mulberry streets, next to 33 East restaurant.

There will be crafts for kids to make, sensory experiences such as rice and pasta bins and water beads, face painting and balloon animals.

There also will be cotton candy, popcorn, baked goods and a kid-friendly demo by 33 East head chef, Kevin Nash.

Raffle items will be available for attendees to take a chance on and there will be live music by local acoustic musician, Michael Caschera.

The event is organized by two young Lycoming County natives, Jachelle Yingling and Kelsey Follmer.

Last year’s event, also organized by the two girls, welcomed about 100 attendees and they hope to see even more this year, Follmer said.

“This year we hope to exceed the funds we raised last year and to inform more of our community of how they can help with the growing rate of autism,” Follmer said. “Autism is the fastest grown developmental disorder in the U.S.”

Last year, all money raised at the event was given to Mr. Pelly’s autistic support class at Cochran Elementary School. Money raised this year will be donated to Connor’s Connection, an organization that supports the educational needs of autistic youth in Lycoming County.

“This event is extremely beneficial to our community because it raises funds for the local autistic youth throughout Lycoming County,” Follmer said. “Also, not only does it provide autism awareness, but more importantly, autism acceptance.”

Some of the raffle items that will be featured at the event include a necklace from Petro’s Jewelers, two bicycles donated by Schneider Dairy Farms, a necklace from Bill Mahonski Goldsmith, New York Yankees tickets donated by McCarthy Tire, gift cards and more.

Donations will be accepted for Connor’s Connection through the First Community Foundation Partnership through the day of the event and all donations made are tax deductible.

“Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a rate of 10 to 17 percent per year,” Follmer explained. “At these rates, it is estimated that four million Americans will be diagnosed within the next decade. Let’s come together to raise awareness, acceptance and help lessen the financial burden on these families. Let us connect the pieces.”

For more information, call Follmer at 772-3581 or Yingling at 337-7633.