Cycling Event Has Raised More than $6 Million for Educational & Treatment Programs for Children & Adults with Autism
Over the past nine years, thousands of people in the Northern, NJ area and beyond have come together annually for a unique family event that has raised more than $6 million to provide educational and treatment programs for children and adults with autism.
The Go the Distance for Autism Ride—to be held June 3, 2018 at Bergen Community College in Paramus, NJ—will bring together families, friends, and supporters of four participating organizations; Alpine Learning Group, The EPIC School, Garden Academy, and REED Academy, all of whom are dedicated to changing the future for those who struggle with autism.
REED Academy co-founder Mary Moran has been involved with the Go the Distance for Autism Ride since its inception, and she is looking forward to the ninth installment this year. Her son Christopher, 20, is a student at REED who enrolled when the school opened in 2003.
“I love Go the Distance for Autism,” Moran said. “It’s a fantastic event because it helps us immensely with our fundraising efforts and is a great way to bring the entire community together for a worthwhile cause. The event started as a true grass-roots effort and was very popular, even in the first year, and continues to grow each year.“
Moran explained the importance of fundraising for a school like REED Academy. “REED provides a one-to-one student to instructor ratio which has shown to be the most successful method of teaching learners with autism; but it’s a very expensive undertaking. That is why fundraising is so critically important.”
Typically, the event raises about $300,000 for REED Academy. In the past, REED has directed its funds to the school’s general operating budget, as well as updating educational technology; the school security and intercom system; playground and outdoor equipment; and much more. This year, funds will go to the REED Foundation for Autism, supporting REED Academy, and their new REED Next program.
REED Next is a new initiative for adults 21 and older, who are no longer eligible for school district funding and enter the dismally underfunded Medicaid system. The programs are built on three key pillars: job training, placement and support; community integration and residential support. Moran’s son Christopher, for example, will age out and graduate from REED Academy next year after he turns 21.
“Over the years we’ve had many different types of fundraisers. Go the Distance for Autism is a great way for families to be involved, and the fact that raising funds can be done digitally makes it easier for them to share information about their child and how their family has been affected by autism. It also allows their friends and families to help with just a few clicks.”
The event is for all levels of cycling ability and provides a safe and family friendly atmosphere where individuals with autism can participate as equally as those without. With four scenic and fully supported routes to choose from – 3, 10, 25 and 50 miles – you’re sure to find a distance that’s right for you.
After completing the ride, all participants can celebrate their accomplishment at the amazing Family Fun Festival with food, music, games, inflatables, activities and more. Bring your friends and family to the festival – all are welcome!
Registration for the event is now open. Sign up today to be a part of North Jersey’s largest charity cycling event! When you ride, you provide direct support for and change the lives of children and families with autism right here in New Jersey. And even if you are unable to ride, you can still attend the event, or support the cause with a convenient online donation.
Autism is a neurobiological-based developmental disability that emerges during a child’s first three years of life. Currently, 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the United States. Here in New Jersey, that number is 1 in 34. Autism is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Children with autism display marked impairments in communication and social relatedness and demonstrate a restricted range of interests and behavior. Significant deficits in language and socialization may place children with autism at risk for developing severe behavior problems such as tantrums, aggression, and self-injury. Autism knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries.
Every child with autism faces unique challenges, and every family affected by autism needs reliable support and expert guidance. With early intensive behavioral intervention, children with autism and their families can meet autism’s challenges and reach their maximum potential.