2014. Our ninth year. Here we go.
Please join TeamGreenbean on Saturday, April 26th at the Rose Bowl for the 2014 WALK NOW event benefitting Autism Speaks.
As many of you know, this effort began for the Greenburg family nine years ago, when little Tyler was diagnosed with Autism. He is not little Tyler anymore.
This WALK, and our collective fundraising efforts, help to raise awareness for the Autism community. We WALK with Tyler to show that this diagnosis should not stop you in your tracks. We keep moving along with Tyler.
All funds raised by TeamGreenbean go directly to Autism Speaks. This organization is incredibly important because their size and power allow them to be a true force in government, in the media and in the scientific community.
- Last month, we were able to meet Lorri Unumb, a parent of an Autistic child, and Autism Speaks Vice President for State Government Affairs. In her role with the organization, Lorri travels the country, writing legislation and leading efforts to make Autism treatment more accessible to everyone in need.
- Recently, we were thrilled with the addition of Michael Rosen to the Autism Speaks organization. Michael is not only a parent of a child on the spectrum, but he is the brother of our friend Rick Rosen. After a long career in television news, Michael has become Executive VP of Strategic Communications at Autism Speaks. His role, simply put, is to be the voice for Autism Speaks, the leading organization servicing this community. Here is a PSA from Autism Speaks that you might find interesting: http://vimeo.com/album/2176827/video/59669603
- Autism Speaks recently announced close to $3,000,000 in research grants, including one to our friend Connie Kasari, at UCLA. Anyone who has an Autistic child in Los Angeles knows her ECPHP program at UCLA. Connie and her team will use their grant to study early intervention benefits, specifically in ethnically diverse, low-income communities.
Our son continues to grow, just like any other 11-year-old boy. His obsessions might be a bit more extreme, but fundamentally, he’s just like your kids.
The highlight of 2013 was the addition of VENTURE to our family. Venture is a certified, trained, Autism Service Dog. He is a constant companion to Tyler. He helps our son handle his excursions into the busy world, announcing the arrival of Tyler at the mall, at the park, and at Nate n Als.
Venture came to us from our new friend Nicole Meadowcroft. From her home in Wisconsin, Nicole found the perfect companion for Tyler with this standard poodle. Nicole operates Custom Canines, with the sole, non-profit mission to deliver these dogs to the kids that need them most. We will do a little Nicole fundraising as the season progresses.
Tyler continued to progress with his myriad activities: he takes weekly surfing and swimming lessons, he attends gymnastics and music classes, and he participates in water sports and ski adventures. This year, Tyler began Hebrew School at the Valley Beth Shalom program OurSpace.
This year, we captured a great moment on video. During a routine therapy session, we saw Tyler connect with his piano playing pal. After listening to the Pixar Greatest Hits album for 5 years, Tyler burst into song when he heard his friend play the Randy Newman classic You’ve Got a Friend In Me. You have no idea, as parents, how it felt to hear Tyler finally let these words out … and loud. Take a look:
We have walked with Autism Speaks since Tyler was three. Our TeamGreenbean has grown along with our son. Each year, thousands of donors contribute online. Some give $5. A few give $1000. We have been lucky enough to add these donations up to a total of over $2,000,000. Last year alone, TeamGreenbean raised $500,000 as the top team in the nation.
At the Rose Bowl, our team of about 200 walks among 25000 people each year. It is chaotic. Last year was no exception: the traffic is awful, everyone gets there late, and yes, there are screaming babies.
But we make the point of attending to show our power as a group.
It ends up being two hours of family time, among a crowd of kind people marching in honor of their loved ones. Despite the disorganization, it is a great day. We encourage you to join us.
We celebrate later that evening, and continue to talk about TeamGreenbean and Autism all year long. That is really the point. It makes it easier for service providers, researchers, and politicians if this disorder remains in the conversation. Consider that as you get each of these lengthy emails.
We also qualified for 30 iPad prizes which were donated to schools around Los Angeles. Click here for more details, and see how we can help your favorite school.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
We would love to have you at the Rose Bowl itself for the event. For now, it is time to sign up, donate, and join the team. Everyone gets tripped up by the website and the process.
Remember, all the money goes to the same place, so do not worry if you think you got recorded in a weird way.
Your next steps:
1. Go to the Autism Speaks page for our team: http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/losangeles/teamgreenbean
2. If you plan to walk, join the team.
3. If you would like to simply donate, click on any name and fill out the form. All of the money goes to the exact same place, so pick someone new this year to support within our group.
4. If this is too complicated, contact Lindsay at 310.248.3057. She can guide you.
5. Come to the WALK or the PARTY (details to follow)
6. Keep track of our collective success on these emails and on the website at TeamGreenbean
The generosity of our friends, family and colleagues has been amazing. We have collectively raised over $2,000,000.
From day one of this journey, our goal for Tyler was to keep him smiling. He is truly a happy child, and we know that he appreciates all of your support.
Ari & Andrea
Avery & Tyler