It is an understatement to say that 2020 was a rough year for everyone. Lives, jobs, and businesses were lost across the country due to COVID-19. Many people have struggled to keep working, support their children with online school, and battled isolation. Families impacted by autism watched as the changes in routine, schedules, therapies, supports, and school made their precariously balanced world crumble. The impacts of COVID-19 on individuals with autism, who rely heavily on these supports have been enormous.
The mission of ASDA is to give individuals with autism, and their families, a chance to live a full, safe, and equally advantaged life. With three of our major fundraisers being canceled due to COVID-19, we have lost over 50% of our operating budget this year. We humbly ask that you consider a donation so that we can continue to serve families across the nation. We believe these children deserve our support as we strive to help them achieve their fullest potential.
Simply put, an autism service dog can enable these children and their families to live their lives. Our service dogs provide physical safety, an emotional anchor, and sensory support for children with autism. With their child tethered to a service dog, families can engage in activities as simple as going to the park. Our service dogs aid individuals in bridging their challenges and accelerating their strengths. In short, our service dogs are truly life-changing for families affected by autism.
Each of our service dogs costs our organization between $30,000 and $50,000 to fully train over a two-to-three-year period. As it stands, we currently have 19 dogs in our program in various stages of training. As you can imagine, that is a lot of food, vetting, equipment, and training; however, the ability to one day place these dogs as service dogs makes every dollar spent an investment in a priceless future.
COVID-19 has created strains on every facet of our organization. One significant change we have seen is the increase in the number of inquiries for service dogs. Families all over the country are struggling. The pandemic is causing school and therapeutic delays and there is true regression across the board for individuals with autism. Our organization has had to pause applications due to the decrease in our operating budget. With increased donations we would be able to place our current service dogs in training and open the application portal to those families who desperately need it. Working together will continue to make a difference in these children’s lives.
Thank you for your generous consideration.