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Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center gets $200K grant from The Saguaros

photo of Saguaros grant to Southwest Autism Research Resource Center
Trent Hancock, Saguaros 2022 charities chair; Julie Alpert , SARRC board member; Mike Bosco, Saguaros president; Daniel Openden, SARRC president & CEO; Hunter Fadynich, Saguaros 2023 charities chair; and Lauren Smith, SARRC director of community engagement. (Photo courtesy: The Saguaros/
The Saguaros help to cover costs of expansion of community schools across Arizona
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center has received a $200K grant from The Saguaros to support the expansion of high-quality early intervention programs and inclusive education opportunities for children with autism and their families.

Specifically, representatives at The Saguaros report, the grant will support SARRC’s 2023 strategic plan to become a statewide organization. The funding from The Saguaros is being directed toward the building expenses of five new ‘Community Schools’ meant to serve 320 children with and without autism across Arizona.

“Since SARRC’s founding in 1997, we have always had our sights set on what’s next for autism in Arizona to expand the reach of our fundamental programs, services, and research; create sustainable programs that can be reinvested back into the growth of our mission; and cultivate and empower new supportive, inclusive communities across the state,” says SARRC President & CEO Daniel Openden.

“We’re incredibly grateful for The Saguaros’ generous donation, which will help us expand our mission, vision and statewide growth through our Community School program.”

SARRC’s first Community School inclusive pre-school program was opened in Phoenix in 2006, with additional campuses opening in Tempe in 2016 and at Paiute in south Scottsdale in 2021.

The Saguaros awarded $10,000 to SARRC in 2021 and $25,000 in 2022 to support the Community School at the Paiute Neighborhood Center in Scottsdale.

Classrooms consist of children ages 15 months to 5 years old in four age-assigned classrooms comprised of six children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and up to 10 typically developing children. Recognized for its programmatic model based in applied behavior analysis, SARRC provides high-quality early childhood education focused on building motivation and social-communication skills to ensure readiness in kindergarten and beyond.

The Saguaros help to cover costs of expansion of community schools across Arizona

While the locations of SARRC’s remaining Community School campuses are subject to change based on availability of land and properties, the new locations are planned for the west Valley, Tucson, east Valley, Flagstaff and north Phoenix/Scottsdale.

“The Saguaros organization is focused on supporting the most impactful children’s charities in Arizona,” said Saguaros President Mike Bosco.

“SARRC has been an incredible resource for families of children diagnosed with autism, sharing much-needed guidance, support and services when they’re needed most. We look forward to seeing the expansion of SARRC’s Community School programs to serve hundreds of preschoolers around Arizona.”

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