Oakland University’s Center for Autism Research, Education and Support, OUCARES, was the recipient of many generous donations this past year. The gifts will benefit individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families by providing much needed resources to support unique summer experiences and popular art programming; increase access to programs through scholarships; and allow the center to grow with the hiring of a director for OUCARES. As a direct result of these gifts, OUCARES will be able to continue offering recreational opportunities in an environment that is welcoming, safe, and responsive to the needs of individuals with ASD.
An anonymous donor is making it possible for OUCARES to secure a talented director to lead the center to national prominence. The director will encourage faculty and student research on quality of life and establish partnerships with area organizations to enhance service to the autism community. In addition, the director will increase education and awareness of autism spectrum disorders and offer recreational, art and education programming throughout the community via a campus and traveling outreach program. As a result, support services available to individuals and families dealing with ASD will be amplified.
The Lula C. Wilson Trust has supported OUCARES since 2007. The Lula C. Wilson gift will support art enrichment programming for one year. Programs this year include drawing, painting and creative arts.
The Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation is making a gift to increase access to safe and inclusive programs for the autism community in southeast Michigan. With this gift, families with economic hardships now have the opportunity for their family member with ASD to attend OUCARES programs via a scholarship, enabling individuals to learn and enhance their skills in working with others, develop motor skills, and be part of a group.
The Rotary Club of Rochester, Michigan hosted a golf outing at the R&S Sharf golf course this past August to benefit OUCARES. Over $9,700 was raised from the golf outing to support this year’s Film Camp, titled “Friday Night at the Movies.” This short film and others are available for purchase at oakland.edu/oucaresstore, with all proceeds going to support unique camps and programs such as the summer Film Camp.
The Autism Society - Oakland County Chapter made gifts to support the After Hours Adult Social for three years (2010-12) as well as art programming for one year. In addition, the Autism Society – Oakland County Chapter sponsored the Family Fun Day, which was held on March 21, 2010 at OU’s Recreation Center. Over 510 community members attended the no-cost event, which had an art room, swimming and a resource fair.
Dr. Louis Gallien Jr., the Dean of the School of Education and Human Services, where OUCARES is housed, said, “We are fortunate to have such wonderful community support for OUCARES. These gifts will allow us to better serve the 750 families who participate in OUCARES programming, and to expand our services to reach more individuals in the autism community. These gifts provide the momentum to lead the way for OUCARES to be renown nationally for the services and programs available to the autism community.”
OUCARES is thankful for generous $160,000 gifts and the commitment to enhance the quality of life for individuals on the spectrum. For more information on OUCARES, visit the OUCARES website at oakland.edu/oucares or email firstname.lastname@example.org.