The Mom Buzz has several readers whose children have autism. And we've talked about products and diets that may help autistic children, as well. So, that's why I know you all will be interested in learning that Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide will kick off a nine-week in-store fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
For the first time in the three-year partnership with Autism Speaks, the company’s more than 260 Babies“R”Us stores also will participate in the program. From Sunday, March 1 through Friday, May 1, donations will be collected in more than 800 “R”Us stores across the country and online at www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April.
“With so many children affected by autism, our partnership with Autism Speaks is especially meaningful for many of our customers, as well as our employees,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “We love kids, and we’re proud to raise money and awareness in our stores to help Autism Speaks provide a voice for those children and families impacted by the disorder.”
To increase public awareness about the disorder, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has partnered once again with the National Lekotek Center, an independent organization dedicated to children with disabilities, and Autism Speaks, to develop a special edition of the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids that identifies “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism.” These items promote the development of language, creativity and social skills, and are toys that children with autism spectrum disorders can play with alongside their siblings and friends. Information about the toys is available in all stores nationwide.
At www.Toysrus.com/AutismSpeaks, you will find information about the “Ten Toys That Speak To Autism,” how to donate to the cause, history of the partnership and other information. The site will also feature a portrait gallery of children with autism taken by photographer Thomas Balsamo, an artist with extensive experience working with special needs children.
Since the partnership began in 2007, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, Toys“R”Us, Inc. and customer donations have combined to provide Autism Speaks with more than $3.7 million. Now, Babies“R”Us stores have joined in the effort, providing Autism Speaks with a greater opportunity to educate the families of babies and toddlers about new research regarding screening for autism.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund also proudly serve as the national sponsor of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program, a series of more than 75 walk events in cities coast-to-coast. Toys“R”Us, Inc. employees nationwide are again joining in the effort by forming regional walk teams in their local communities. The complete schedule of Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism events can be found at www.WalkNowforAutism.org.
I hope this is good news for everyone, as autism continues to affect more of our loved ones!