In conjunction with their match tomorrow night, April 17th, the New York Red Bulls will host an Autism Awareness Night at Red Bull Arena. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales for the match tomorrow night between the Red Bulls and the San Jose Earthquakes will be donated to local area charities that support the cause of autism awareness. The fans who attend the match in person will be provided a list of three participating charitable organizations and will be able to select which one will receive the donation from their ticket purchase.
This is just the most recent event held by the Red Bulls, who have been very active in community affairs and dedicated to helping to serve the local New York / New Jersey metropolitan area for several years now. New York general manager Marc de Grandpre in the press release issued by the club for this event said "We're extremely excited about hosting these families at Red Bull Arena". The club also announced the creation of a "quiet zone" inside Red Bull Arena where those with autism and their families can go during the game. This is due to the fact that those with autism could have difficulties with the noise and other variables that are part of a MLS live match experience.
According to Autism Speaks, one of the charitable partners of this event, autism effects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys and is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. This same organization worked in conjunction with the Red Bulls to develop a "Guide to the Game" which is a visual presentation to help prepare those with autism and their families for what to expect during their game day experience at Red Bull Arena.
It is also important to note that while this disorder is growing in large rates, there remains no cure or medical detection protocols available to help those effected. It can cost the average family around $60,000 per year to deal with costs associated with autism. Although the rates of autism diagnosis are on the rise, the research funding dollars remain very small when compared with other medical conditions.
In my own experience, I have friends who have children with autism. It is not always easy, in fact they have had their struggles, but they have told me it is also very rewarding. Their children are all uniquely talented in many ways as well. That is part of what the Red Bulls and their local charitable partners: Autism Speaks, Valley Program for Children with Autism, and Autism New Jersey are joining forces to demonstrate: that every person is unique, talented, and capable of making a positive impact on our communities and our society.
In order to learn more about this charitable event please visit the Red Bulls website which will also direct you to the websites for the charitable organizations listed above. I hope all the fans that attend the event will be mindful that it is a special night for those with autism and their families and it is a time to show them the fun and exciting atmosphere that is part of the fan experience of a Red Bulls match.
If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or a donor please visit the Red Bulls web site and follow the prompts in the news release to link you to one of the charitable organizations in the area.