Tell us your nonprofit story—how did it get started and why?
Autism Charlotte is a local non-profit organization focused on addressing the needs of families who have loved ones with autism, in and around the Greater Charlotte Area. Five families, all affected directly by autism, founded Autism Charlotte. These five families came together, inspired by their own special children, to serve those in the autism community and provide affordable, inclusion-based programs that benefit the child, the family, and the typical peers/volunteers.The Autism Charlotte Board of Directors has grown to 13, and includes business leaders, small business owners, and community volunteers.
Describe one of your best experiences since starting at Autism Charlotte?
Impossible. I can say however, having been with Autism Charlotte since inception, that the most rewarding part continues to be the change we see within the typical peers and community volunteers who give their time to work with these great kids on an ongoing basis. Not only do we have stories of compassion, acceptance, and volunteers who feel that they have truly made a difference in someone’s life (knowing that by working with the child with autism, you are affecting/lifting up the entire family), but we also have many stories of college students who are changing their future careers and post-educational paths….ALL these and more demonstrate that we at Autism Charlotte are making a community-wide social impact.
November 9-13 is Apparo’s Local Good Week—what does giving back to the community mean to you and why is it important?
Giving back to our community is a powerful, fundamental part of what we do at Autism Charlotte. I was born right here in Charlotte, and I could not be more proud of the sense of “giving back” I see on a daily basis. And by no means do I mean just giving money. Folks in Charlotte give of their time. The challenges within my household (I have 2 boys with autism) are not nearly as challenging when I realize that by giving back to this community, I honor my special children.
How has working with Apparo enabled you to achieve your mission more efficiently?
Autism Charlotte has been serving the community since 2008, and we have served close to 700 families dealing with the struggles of ASD. Due to these numbers in the past and as our number of families served continues to grow, Autism Charlotte is working on our infrastructure to support our historical data and prepare us for future growth. Apparo, after helping us to distinguish among choices for a cloud service that will serve to organize our files, is helping us with the implementation – a much overdue need of our organization. This new cloud service will not only help our staff with organization, but it will also help us maintain our commitment to give each participant respect by holding their information confidentially.