Daily News

Sunshine Village Celebrates Autism Awareness Month, Honors Community Partners

CHICOPEE — In honor of April being National Autism Awareness Month, Sunshine Village is planning visits and events with local organizations to raise awareness of autism and recognize a shared commitment to inclusivity, acceptance, and celebrating unique abilities, said Gina Kos, executive director.

As a nonprofit leader in day programs and employment services for people on the autism spectrum, Sunshine Village regularly seeks partnerships and gives back to the community by volunteering, advocating, and offering educational opportunities.

With programs located in Chicopee, Springfield, Three Rivers, and Westfield, the organization has developed strong relationships with first responders and community groups and leaders, including libraries and businesses. To promote goodwill and recognize these important partnerships, individuals and staff from each program will visit the offices of Mayor Richard Kos and City Treasurer Marie Laflamme of Chicopee, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan. Visits will also be made to libraries and police and fire departments in Chicopee, Springfield, Three Rivers, and Westfield.

In addition, visits will be made to MGM Springfield, Wegrzyn Dental Offices, the Holyoke Public Schools Autism Fair, Harmony House, Ronald McDonald House, Litwin Elementary School in Chicopee, and Serendipity Salon. Each community partner will be presented with inspiring artwork and homemade crafts and treats that highlight the culinary-arts skills and creativity of individuals in Sunshine Village’s programs. Members of local cultural councils will also visit Sunshine Village to enjoy the Everyone Shines Music Therapy program led by a music therapist, which was made possible through cultural council grants.

Since 1967, Sunshine Village has provided innovative day services for people with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. Currently, the facility serves more than 500 individuals in nine sites throughout the Pioneer Valley.

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