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Vegas-style Gala for Autism Non-Profit Gonna Set Your Soul on Fire

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When: April 6, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Eau Gallie Yacht Club (100 Datura Drive, Indian Harbor Beach)

What: Gala event with Las Vegas Style gaming, drinks, dancing, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and silent auction to benefit SFFA Spring Forward for Autism

Cost: $125.00 per person

How: Contact: (954) 214-6781; www.springforwardforautism.org

Susan Belcher, director of Spring Forward for Autism, is announcing the 6th annual Illuminate the Night gala event with a "Light Up Las Vegas" theme. For this event, the stately Eau Gallie Yacht Club will be transformed into a glitzy and glamourous tinsel town complete with Vegas style gaming tables. There will also be great hors d'oeuvres, music, a silent auction, live entertainment and much more.

Blackjack, Roulette, Poker and Craps, name your game and you will find it at the Yacht Club along with dancing, drinks and delicious food. The fun is for a good cause: to meet the needs of autistic children and their families. It's Vegas baby and you don't need to take a chance because this evening is a win-win for everyone. This event is slated to be one of the best parties of the year, while also helping Brevard's autistic community. Proceeds will benefit families with autistic children and organizations that work on their behalf such as The Scott Center for Autism, Support for Autistic Kids (SOAK), the Parker Center for Autism and Child Development and ASK US Florida.

Spring Forward for Autism is a non-profit organization that was officially founded in 2015 by Susan Belcher whose son has autism. After realizing the enormous gap in services for Brevard's underprivileged autistic children and wealthier families with autistic children, Susan started a fundraiser at her Zumba class. Shortly after the success of that effort, Spring Forward for Autism became a reality. Today, Spring Forward for Autism has a grant program in place designed to help families with an autistic child receive special treatments and therapies.

Spring Forward for Autism has raised over $100,000 and has now benefited more than 100 families with autistic children ages 1- 18. In the last year alone, $90,000 in grants has been given to 45 new families to help with advanced ABA or OT therapies.

"Getting these specialized services is very expensive and many families with autistic children are unable to afford the specialized programs and equipment that can make such a difference in an autistic child's quality of life. We want to change that," Belcher said.

Thanks to the advocacy and activism of people like Susan Belcher, Sheila Schmitt and Meegan Alphin (three friends who initially started this non-profit seven years ago), more of Brevard's children who have autism are getting access to the services they need. Today, Spring Forward for Autism Awareness continues to have a positive impact on families through: evaluations and ABA behavioral therapy, speech therapy, tutoring, educational needs, sensory aids, tools, autism awareness vehicles, guidance and other autism focused social activities for families. The organization's vision for the future includes opening an innovative Sports, Education and Arts Discovery (S.E.A.) center.

Tickets are going fast this year. Last year's event sold out, so get your tickets today. For more information about the Spring Forward for Autism Awareness nonprofit organization or about becoming a sponsor for the "Light Up Las Vegas" Gala event on April 6th, please contact Susan Belcher at (954) 214-6781 or visit www.springforwardforautism.org.

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