Minnesota families challenged by Autism have few options and need your help!
Autism is a growing epidemic in Minnesota. Today, 1 in 68 children are identified as being on the autism spectrum, which is a massive increase from the year 2000, when the statistic was 1 in 150 children. Considering Minnesota’s population of more than 5 million, simple math reveals sobering numbers on how many families are facing this challenge!
In the Spring of 2017, Ironwood Springs held a series of focus groups with families challenged by autism and supporting organizations. Our findings quickly revealed families impacted by autism feel disconnected and face extraordinary expenses with few options for their child with autism to socialize. In addition, divorce rates are almost double the national average.
Furthermore, we learned that parents need the support of an understanding community who are facing the same challenges... Siblings need time with peers who are going through a shared experience and children with autism need understanding and a safe environment to experience the freedom to be themselves.
As Ironwood Springs has had great success with our many other family programs, we knew this style of program would be of great value for these families. One such indicator was, by word of mouth, our pilot retreat was completely booked in three days! (45 families, 120 people). In that very first retreat we enlisted more than 55 volunteers and 16 staff members to ensure the weekend was safe, meaningful and beneficial to the families and their children.
Just a few of the comments included:
“We were treated with such dignity and respect, for a time, we were not any different than anyone else” ~ Deb
“you reached out to us and connected our isolated island to others… and to life” ~ LauraWe now know that this new program at Ironwood Springs will positively impact and strengthen families and kids within their communities, but we need your help! Providing these retreats free or at a low cost is crucial as families with Autism already face a heavy financial burden due to cost of care.
In order to develop and provide this program for 2018, our costs will be in excess of $90,000.00. We appreciate our first partner in the program, Rochester Area Foundation via their We Give 365 grant and hope you will join them as we expand our mission and outreach throughout Minnesota.Please join with Ironwood Springs to uplift and and strengthen these families!