Throughout the month of March, we've dedicated our charitable efforts towards an organization that is near and dear to our hearts: Autism Speaks. Autism has touched many of our staffers' friends and family members, and we know that it has affected the lives of many of our CAMPers, as well. That's why we wanted to make this month, and our events, about raising money and awareness for Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks "enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow." Not only do they seek to raise awareness about autism, but they also work to help those affected by it, both in the present and through research for the future. It's a tremendous cause, and now is a great time to get involved, as April is World Autism Month. The Tampa Bay chapter of Autism Speaks is hosting an Autism Speaks Walk on April 22nd- click here to find out more information.
CAMP hosted two events in March to raise money for Autism Speaks: Hip Hop Yoga at 81Bay Brewery and a Pedal with Purpose ride. We host Hip Hop Yoga at 81Bay frequently, and each time, it benefits a different charity. We open this event up to the community and make it donation-based, in the hopes that we can share yoga and our charity with a larger audience. This month, we raised just over $600 for Autism Speaks. We're so thankful to all of the new and existing CAMPers who came and supported us by flowing for a cause.
Lauren B. also hosted a Pedal with Purpose ride at CAMP to support Autism Speaks. Charitable efforts are very important to her: "When you ride for something bigger than yourself, it becomes about more than calories- it becomes about who you want to be as a person. You build the strength up in this room that transfers to how you show up for people in the real world." She led an empowering ride that helped everyone in the room discover a newfound sense of inner strength. She can't wait to continue leading more rides, such as this one, that help support important causes.
We wanted to share the letter we read at Hip Hop Yoga, written by a friend who has directly experienced the effects of autism. We hope it touches you as much as it touched us.
"Autism. A word with so many different meanings. Autism. A very personal word. Autism. An empowering word. Autism. A word that enhanced our view of the world.
Our son was officially diagnosed with Autism around his fifth birthday, however he had been receiving various therapies since he was 18 months old. You see, we knew that in order for us to parent our son well, we had to learn how to parent him. The early interventions made a huge difference in how he saw his world, but I think the real “therapy” was my husband and I learning how to understand his world. It made us more in tuned to our environment. It made us listen with our whole hearts. It made us better parents to all of our children.
In our home, Autism means listening with the purpose of understanding; it means seeking harmony in our minds and hearts; it means loving unconditionally."