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How Sixteen Churches Spread Autism Awareness in a Big Way

Hello Everyone!

I have some results that I would like to share with you from the 2016 Autism Awareness Month Faith Based Initiative.  This was our first year for the initiative and I enjoyed every moment of it!

Autism Awareness Month Faith Based Initiative Logo

Image drawn by Daniel Nash.

Over 3000 persons from 16 churches received information about autism as a result of the initiative. A special thank you goes out to the following churches that completed the program:

Each church was allowed to choose their own autism awareness activity.  Some of the activities included:

  • Placing facts about autism in the church newsletter or bulletin
  • Members of the congregation wearing blue
  • Choir members holding up blue glow sticks during a song dedicated to special needs families
  • Display tables with autism awareness brochures, flyers, and giveaways
  • Guest speakers talking about autism
  • Surveys to improve faith based services for special needs families
  • Powerpoint presentations on autism
  • Church members wearing puzzle piece ribbons
  • Informational bulletin boards on autism
  • Autism awareness videos
  • Discussions with youth groups about autism awareness and acceptance
  • A Sensory Room Donation Drive for persons with special needs
  • Autism awareness crafts
  • Training for children’s church staff on how to engage a child with autism
  • An appreciation luncheon for workers in the special needs ministry

Here are a few pictures from some of the churches that participated.

Bethesda COG Choir with blue glow sticks

The choir at Bethesda Church of God sings a selection dedicated to special needs families while holding their blue glow sticks.

 

Rev. Leroy Jones reads information on the display table about autism.

Rev. Leroy Jones of El Bethel Missionary Baptist Church reads information on the display table about autism.

 

High Praise Worship Center participating in the Autism Awareness Month Faith Based Initiative.

Check out High Praise Worship Center singing praise and worship songs during their Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Service.

 

Display Table at Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Here is the display table for autism awareness at Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

 

South End Missionary Baptist Church pose for a picture after their autism awareness service.

Members of South End Missionary Baptist Church pose for a picture after their autism awareness service.

 

Art project for autism awareness at Word In Season Ministries

Children at Word In Season Ministries work on an art project for autism awareness.

 

Members of Christian Fellowship Church discuss autism awareness with the congregation.

Members of Christian Fellowship Church discuss autism awareness with the congregation.

 

Members of Willow Grove AME Church pose for a picture.

Members of Willow Grove AME Church pose for a picture after their autism awareness service.

 

Full Life Ahead Community Members

Full Life Ahead Community members pose after their autism awareness service.

 

An evaluation form was completed by each church after they completed their activity.  The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive! Here are a few of the responses:

 

“Just wanted to let you know your ministry is working honey. I just had a conversation with my mom about her friends grandson who recently stopped talking. I told my mom that’s one of the signs of autism. Mom said oh yes and boys are more likely to be diagnosed and I read that in my church bulletin from Sunday. I was so excited to hear her say that. It is definitely creating more awareness and making an impact. Keep doing what ur doing!”

“I think this initiative is an amazing way to get the Church involved in something that can be overlooked or mistaken when people don’t understand it correctly. Many individuals in our church knew of someone with autism but did not know what it was or how they can help. Advocating for a special needs ministry is definitely something our church is looking into. Giving these children an opportunity to learn about God while being in a safe environment conducive to them would make such a great impact in our community. You are truly doing a great work for the kingdom!”

“We completed our presentation today. It was awesome! It was unity Sunday on top of that. So it was perfect timing. We gave out ribbons and handouts and did a PowerPoint presentation.  Afterwards, I got a call from my son’s Church school teacher, for more information and ways she can better assist him. She’s already doing an excellent job, but today made her want to step her game up even more. To God be the Glory!”

“A lot of people weren’t aware about autism being needed to be considered.”

“We are making autism awareness a part of our annual calendar for the third Sunday in April.”

“I believe people learned and began to ask important questions because of this activity. It has sparked an interest in people in our congregation that work with special needs children to help us in the development of a special needs ministry.”

 

A special thank you goes out to Autism Speaks of Georgia for providing autism awareness handouts for the churches that participated. I also would like to thank them for inviting me to speak on their behalf at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church for their Light It Up Blue service on April 3rd. Over 500 persons were in attendance! You can view the speech I made by clicking here.

Another special acknowledgement goes out to Bethesda Church of God for inviting me to speak at their church as a part of their Special Needs Awareness Service. Here’s a link to my speech.  My son was even a part of the service!

I’m already planning for next year’s events. If you didn’t join us this year, please make plans to do so for next year. I would love to have your church on board! Be sure that you subscribe to my blog or follow me on FB or Twitter so that you won’t miss any updates on this very important initiative.

Be blessed!

Tonya

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