Published May 19, 2009
Volume 17, Number 5

Golf Tournament Benefits Autism Group

While public sensitivity to autism has increased significantly over the past decade, its origins and cure remain elusive. Signs of the disorder—“difficulties with communication, social interaction, and behaviors”—typically emerge in children before the age of three and last a lifetime. Currently described as the “fastest-growing developmental disability,” autism affects between 1 and 1.5 million Americans. With an annual cost to the nation of $90 billion, autism is truly a baffling and troubling condition. Roughly half of those diagnosed will never learn to talk.

Cindy and Eric Everson, a Pleasanton couple with two autistic sons, are among those actively striving to change these outcomes. In 2002 they established the nonprofit P.A.R. For Kids’ Sake (Providing Autism Research) “in an effort to help find a cure and the causes for autism, as well as raise public awareness of this tragic disability.” As the organization has grown, so have its accomplishments. In just seven years it has raised over $600,000, most of which has been donated to the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, “the largest autism research facility in the world under one roof.”

This year, P.A.R. is extending its support to two other local non-profits, the Exceptional Needs Network (ENN) and the School of Imagination, which offer services that help make life better for affected children and their families. ENN operates overnight camps for children with disabilities and offers grants of up to $500 to help classroom teachers acquire special materials and programs. The School of Imagination delivers educational, developmental, and enrichment services to children with special needs.

“We have received so much support from the community, and we wanted to diversify recipients to include organizations that actually help kids now,” remarks Cindy Everson, pointing out that early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the cost of lifelong care by two-thirds.  

P.A.R.’s primary fund-raising vehicle is its day-long Annual Golf Tournament and Banquet, which this year will take place on Monday, June 8, at Pleasanton’s Ruby Hill Golf Club. In addition to providing access to the world-class, members-only golf course, the tournament includes putting and driving contests and other activities to make it a lively event. Registration and continental breakfast get underway at 10 a.m., while golfers tee off in a shotgun start at noon. Starting at 6 p.m., a tasty dinner and silent and live auctions cap off the fun.

As in past years, the auction prizes are sensational, including gourmet meals in special settings, exotic trips, wine tours, and insider tickets to special events, Everson relates. “This one event raises over $100,000. We have been really fortunate with sponsors and other support.”

For more information about the nonprofit and the upcoming golf benefit, visit www.par4kidssake.org.


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