NEW BERN, Craven County — This Saturday , forgo your typical balanced breakfast and eat ice cream instead ... and you'll be contributing to a good cause.
Just head to the First Ice Cream Breakfast Fundraiser at the Temple Baptist Church in New Bern between 8:30 - 11:30 AM. Tickets cost five dollars, and all the proceeds will benefit young people on the autistic spectrum.
The event is sponsored by local nonprofit Autismazing, which helps give autistic persons the same higher education and employment opportunities that many of us take for granted.
70% of adults on the autism spectrum are not employed, versus our very low unemployment rate of five percent," says Deborah Kania founder and president of the organization. "We want to change that opportunity for them."
Kania also tells me the rate of autistic persons that enter college is just over 34 percent, versus the 69 percent rate of their non-austistic peers. Kania says it's partially due to a lack of emotional and financial support services after high school.
When the graduate high school, a lot of the support that they do have disappear," Kania explains.
Emily Chance, peer advocate and founding board member for Autismazing, agrees with Kania.
"I have a twin sister with autism and the support kind of stops after high school," says Chance. "We want to fill that gap."
But like any nonprofit, the team at Autismazing needs funds in order to help.
"We give out grants that support employment, higher education," Kania explains.
That's why they're hosting the Ice Cream for Breakfast fundraiser. The team felt the unique fundraising idea was a parallel to their cause.
It's unexpected and also wonderful," Kania says. "Just like our autistic children."
The event will have ice cream from Simply Natural Creamery in Ayden, Italian Ice from A Taste of Philadelphia (for those lactose intolerant) and a variety of toppings.
We've got rolo's, reeses pieces, everything you can imagine," Kania says.
There will also be cookies and coffee, superheros from Project Superhero, crafts and colorings, a DJ and photobooth, games and activities. Even Cinderella from Magic Moment of UNC will make an appearance. Wearing pajamas is welcome.
As Emily's twin sister, Katie, is getting ready to graduate from New Bern high school, it's important for her to see her sister-- and others like her-- continue to have the opportunity for a successful life.
After high school it's like, what's next?" Emily asks. "Sometimes that can be a bit of a journey for someone with autism. We're gonna work with the small business center and start a business with Katie, it's been great to see her come so far.
The Autismazing staff does ask that you buy your tickets in advance-- by Friday afternoon, if possible-- so they know how much ice cream to provide. You can pre-purchase your ticket here or sign up to volunteer.