Programs and Classes

Thu Mar 21 @ 6:00PM - 07:00PM
Parent support group/ sensory jump hour

The Autism Society continues to mourn the lives lost on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. We join the nation as we keep our collective attention focused on those directly impacted by this tragedy.

In the nation’s rush to understand the reasoning for such an awful occurrence, the conversation evolved to include the alleged shooter’s possible diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society feels it is imperative to remove autism from this tragic story. Race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are seldom, if ever, linked to the actions of an individual in a causal relationship. It is imperative that developmental disorders and disabilities be treated in the same vein.

Headlines Academy held an Autism awareness fundraiser for ASBH and donated a percent of their revenue to our local chapter. We received a check in the amount of $300! Thank you Headlines Academy!

Once again, the Autism Society of the Black Hills received a wonderful donation check from the Knights of Columbus (Our Lady of the Black Hills, Piedmont). Along with other Knights from the council, members did several Tootsie Roll give-aways for donations last fall and voted to give the proceeds to the ASBH. They presented a check in the amount of $842.00! We thank the Knights of Columbus and appreciate their generosity!

The Autism Society of the Black Hills held a fall rummage sale to benefit our ASBH family programs. We raised $1,300 for our one day sale. ASBH wants to thank all of the people who donated items to this special fundraiser. We had such a wide array of rummage from Halloween costumes to lighted reindeer and christmas trees to books, cds, bike and toys. It was a big success and we are so appreciative of your support. We also want to thank the awesome team of volunteers who came out and helped set up, work the sale and pack up. A big thanks to the men of Ellsworth Airforce Base who transported all the rummage to the Senior Center. It took eight trucks and some strong arms to move it all. Another big thanks goes to the wonderful honor students from Douglas High School who spent many hours setting up and taking down the sale and helping with check out. To all of our friends and families and board members who helped - you are the best! We can't do this without you. Thank you again!

Day of Excellence was developed by the Leadership Rapid City Class of 2009 and provides an opportunity for people in the Black Hills region to gather with locally and nationally recognized speakers for personal and professional development. Day Of Excellence awards $40,000 to area charities. Day of Excellence, Inc. awarded $40,000 in grants to ten area charities on August 3, 2011, among them was the Autism Society of the Black Hills. Development Director, Susan Ricci, was on hand to accept the $4,000 check and thanked the Day of Excellence for their support. The award will greatly assist the Autism Society of the Black Hills in expanding their programs and support groups.

The South Dakota Community Foundation is pleased to announce that the Autism Society of the Black Hills has been awarded a $2,000 grant to assist with developing an Asperger's Peer Group. This grant was presented through the South Dakota Community Foundation’s statewide grant program. The Autism Society of the Black Hills serves nearly 200 families in the West River area. An Asperger's Peer Group will bring young Asperger's adults together to network with one another and develop a social support system to help mentor them with the everyday tasks that they need to master in order to live fuller lives. This program will guide them through the processes of preparing for college, attending college classes, going on job interviews and subsequent employment opportunities. According to Ginger Niemann, Program Officer of the South Dakota Community Foundation, the development of this Asperger’s Peer Group will assist these young adults in being productive members of society and to help ease the burden of families. “The South Dakota Community Foundation is pleased to support the efforts of the Autism Society of the Black Hills and the Asperger’s Peer Group.” Niemann said.

At a recent Knights of Columbus Spaghetti Dinner held at Our Lady of the Black Hills, #7079, Grand Knight Armando Montes presented a check for $826 to the Autism Society of the Black Hills. The money was raised in 2010 as part of the annual Knighs of Columbus Tootsie Roll Drive and will be used to help support programs in the Black Hills area.

The Autism Society of the Black Hills would especially like to thank all our major sponsors for their support in this year’s Mardi Gras event: Assurant, Dale’s Tire, Wells Fargo, Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza, Black Hills Workshop and the Officers Spouses Club Welfare Fund—Ellsworth AFB. Thank you to all of our silent auction donors who helped make our fundraising auction a wonderful success! 

The Autism Society’s 4th Annual Mardi Gras fundraiser took place on Saturday, March 5th at the Canyon Lake Chophouse. This year’s event was sold out and guests were treated to a fabulous night of Mardi Gras food, music, costumes and fun. We welcomed new Krewes this year to honor our sponsors, including the Krewe of Bacchus, Poseidon, Spartacus and more. We had over 25 silent auction packages up for bid, including a live auction sculpture Show of Valor donated by Xanterra Mount Rushmore Gift shop. Jazz music was provided by Jami Beck from the Black Hills Symphony and saxophonist Gary Bloomberg.

Many families wonder whether they can write a grant proposal and receive funds to help them manage the financial challenges that come with an autism spectrum diagnosis. The good news is that there are such grants; the bad news is that most are very small (less than $500) - and all are very competitive. What's more, many will only pay for specific medical expenses, and send the funds directly to the medical provider. A growing number of foundations, though, are making autism a priority for non-profit grants, which means local organizations that serve families have a better chance of receiving funds than ever before.

The nearly full parking lot of the “Chophouse” was tinged with snow and ice, the air a chilly 28 degrees. The windows to the restaurant at Canyon Lake were coated with condensation and frost as one approached the entrance.