Programs to support kids with Autism: Interact Club

How the Interact Club hopes to raise awareness on ASD

March 14, 2020

Within the myriad causes East supports with its various drives and fundraisers, autism awareness has been conspicuously absent. The Interact Club, however, along with Assistant Principal Mr. Tom Storer, is endeavoring to change that.

Storer is the Vice-President and Treasurer of the Gloucester County Special Services Educational Foundation (GCSSEF), an organization which, through its funding of the Bankridge Developmental School offers multiple programs to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their parents, for a total of over 275,000 people served in all. Storer approached the faculty adviser of the Interact Club, Mrs. Debbie Jastrow, with the idea to start an in-school fundraiser for the GCSSEF. Storer also suggested the interact club participate in the organization’s annual autism walk, which occurs in October.

The in-school fundraiser will likely occur at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, according to Storer, and will model itself on the club’s candy bar fundraiser earlier this year to support hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

“”Last year, [Interact club] had their candy sale for hurricane relief…” said Storer. “[Jastrow] thought that maybe she could run that again next year, and maybe donate a portion of that to the autism walk.”

The funds raised from the fundraiser will go to fund some of the extra-scholastic programs offered by the GCSSEF, like parent ‘Fun Friday’  nights — where parents can drop off their kids in a safe environment and go out.

“They’ll have their teachers; they’ll do their activities for two to three hours, and the parents will be able to go out to dinner, or go out and [see] a movie, and do things that they can’t normally do,” said Storer.

The organization also provides trainings for students–and parents of students–with autism.

“A lot of schools in Gloucester County don’t provide educational opportunities and services for kids with autism, sp we [rovide the extra training for them,” said Storer.

Ultimately, Storer and the Interact Club hope to create a community that is more aware of the unique needs of students with ASD while helping to raise money for programs that aid those most affected by it. So keep an eye out for Interact Club’s efforts to aid the GCSSEF next fall and beyond. )

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