It’s a brisk, wintry Saturday evening. Feathers and fedoras abound for the “gangster ball” theme, drinks are flowing, and the driving beat of good tunes makes it impossible not to claim space on the dance floor.
No, this is not a scene from Boardwalk Empire. It’s a sneak peak at the POAC (Parents of Autistic Children) Gala, which is celebrated annually at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club, and will take place this February 25th at 6:00 PM.
In a few weeks several hundred people will soon gather to support POAC, as they endeavor to raise money to support the multitude of programs they continually offer to those within the autistic community. These programs range from providing educational supports to parents, teachers, and school personnel, as well as offering recreational activities to children with autism and their siblings.
POAC receives no state or federal funds, and its existence relies entirely upon private donations. Most of these programs remain free to anyone who works with or loves a child with autism.
I can speak from personal experience about what POAC has meant to me, and to many families in the area. When we relocated back to New Jersey six years ago, our eldest child had only had his autism diagnosis for about a year.
While living in the Washington, DC area, I had often struggled to find activities to do with my son. I also struggled to find free educational opportunities with which to enhance his in-home ABA program, the methodology many people use to instruct autistic children.
As soon as I found out about POAC I realized we immediately had access to a wonderful support group, a variety of free educational workshops, and recreational opportunities in an atmosphere that was always welcoming to my child.
POAC gave me and my son an outlet on weekends, and through one of their fundraisers a few years ago at Rein Dancer Farm, they were instrumental in showing me my eldest’s love for all things equine as well.
Most importantly, POAC gave us a second family.
The price of a ticket to attend the gala is $150, but there are other ways to contribute as well. Each year at the Gala a silent auction is held, and POAC is in need of donations for this year's fundraiser.
The Gala committee also holds a gift auction and raffle as well, and POAC would greatly appreciate any contributions of business goods or services. Finally, another way to contribute would be to place an ad in the Journal that is distributed to all guests the night of the event.
Any contribution you or your company make would benefit children with autism and their families tremendously.
If you are interested in participating, donations can be brought to the POAC office, or will be picked up for you. Please contact POAC at:
1999 Route 88
Brick, NJ 08724
Attn: Mary Craig
Thank you for your support!