The 4th Annual Rock’n 4 Autism Awareness Concert: We rocked, we rolled, and we raised awareness for science-based autism treatment!
By Sasha Ferrer
The 4th Annual Rock’n 4 Autism Awareness Concert, co-hosted by ASAT and Hoboken-based HOPES CAP, Inc., rocked out on Saturday, May 3rd! The Fuzzy Lemons, our generous sponsors and donors, and an enthusiastic crowd contributed to the success of this indoor/outdoor event. Sasha Ferrer, a Hoboken High School Senior and reporter was on hand and shares her story here. Thank you Sasha!
David Celiberti, ASAT Executive Director
On a day of unpredictable weather, the one thing that could be predicted was the success of the 4th Annual Rock’n 4 Autism Awareness Concert and Festival. The event took place on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 from 2-6pm at the David E. Rue Building in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was co-hosted by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) and HOPES CAP Inc, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! The monies raised from the concert and festival will help inform the community about detection, diagnosis, and effective treatments for autism.
ASAT's Executive Director, Dr. David Celiberti, and Cindy Vero of KTU Radio, kicked off the event by welcoming concert attendees. The event was well attended with scores of curious parents and excited children, both new visitors and familiar faces. Participants enjoyed face painting, arts and craft activities hosted by Lili’s Parties, bouncy castles donated by Benny Love, and appearances from the Hoboken Police and Fire Departments. Volunteers from Enterprise, Hoboken Grace, State Farm, Stevens Institute, The Hoboken Juniors Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program, Caldwell College, as well as HOPES CAP, Inc. and ASAT were present, creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere for all.
Returning for this year’s event, the Fuzzy Lemons stole the stage with their catchy songs that even made the parents dance! This fun and energetic band captured the attention of children, got parents and children out of their seats, and even took pictures in between sets. The Fuzzy Lemons weren't the only people to take the stage though; the Dance team from Joy's Dance House performed an amazing routine and reminded us that we should all focus upon "Ability, not Disability." These incredible young dancers have autism or other special needs.
Throughout the day, a silent auction took place allowing people to place bids on a variety of items ranging from autographed sports merchandise to artwork from artists such as Nea Bisek. There were items of interest to both children and adults. Thanks to many generous bidders, the auction was a huge success!
I was fortunate to talk to Elizabeth Neumann, an Autism New Jersey volunteer for ASAT about the event and the importance of sharing information about effective autism treatment. “There are over 150 different treatments, and the goal is to help parents find the one most effective for their child,” Elizabeth explained. “We truly are lucky to have Autism NJ and ASAT to provide this type of information.” Marianne Clancy, a mother of a 19 year-old young adult with autism, agreed. When I asked about how she found the right treatment for her son, she said, “Education has had the most crucial effect on my son. ASAT helps parents weigh through the options and find what works and what doesn’t.”
When the event wrapped up, thanks were not only given to the sponsors and donors (please see below for list of all sponsors and donors whose contributions exceeded $500), but to the children and families who came to support the event and inspire us.
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children have autism and that there are over one million people living with this disorder in the U.S alone. The Rock’n 4 Autism Awareness Concert and Festival brings this to the public light and helps parents and providers become more savvy consumers.
Though the event has traditionally been held in April to coincide with Autism Awareness month, organizers chose to hold it in May this year to emphasize that autism awareness should be promoted and supported year-round. For more information about the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, please visit www.asatonline.org. For more information about HOPES, please visit www.hopes.org.
Sasha Ferrer is a senior at Hoboken High School and a writer for The Redwing Reader, the official school newspaper. Sasha will be attending Rider University in the Fall.