Valentine’s Day is the day of love. In this season of love, Giant Steps school, the only school for autistic children in Montreal, wishes to share the love with kids with autism. The school hopes to collect $400,000 through its Valentine’s Day fundraiser.
Administrators, teachers, and parents are joining hands for a fundraiser dedicated to their loved school, Giant Steps. It’s the province’s only autism-specific school, and it requires to collect one million dollars in a year just to fulfill the basic needs and make ends meet.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, affects around 1 out of 68 American children, according to CDC. Some common challenges faced by autistic children are – impaired social interaction, impaired non-verbal and verbal communication, and repetitive and restricted behavior.
As stated by the director of Giant Steps school, Seiun Thomas Henderson, the school receives public funds that cover around 60-70 % of their operating expenses. So, the school needs to fundraise a substantial amount of money each year simply to provide their basic services.
The face behind their 24-hour campaign on social media, is television host and actor Charles Lafortune. Mathis, the 15-year-old son of the actor, is a student for over a decade. Charles said that the school has brought significant changes in his son.
The only bilingual school in Quebec dedicated to kids with autism, has 90 students. However, hundreds of more children are on waiting list. Although the administrators of the school are willing to expand, they cannot because of the current budgetary constraints.
All the donations to the school will be quadrupled owing to three significant donors, which include Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation.
“If you give $25 it will show up as $100 and our goal is $400,000 in 24 hours,” reported Elaine Lalonde, a volunteer of Giant Steps Foundation.
The fundraiser started off at Monday noon and the campaign already met half of its target by 6 p.m.
Lafortune said that when you help the school’s foundation, you help the children, their parents, siblings, friends, and everybody around these kids.