Autism Takes Center Stage In Jon Stewart's HBO Comedy For A Cause Special, With Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Adam Sandler, And More!
There are SO many reasons to be excited about the Night of Too Many Stars Comedy Special, airing on HBO this Saturday at 8pm. First, the host: Jon Stewart! Second, the performers, who will entertain viewers LIVE from The Theater at Madison Square Garden: Chris Rock! Sarah Silverman! Adam Sandler! (And many more.) Finally and most importantly, the cause that all proceeds from Night of Too Many Stars will go to: NEXT for AUTISM.
Founded in 2003, NEXT for AUTISM is unique among organizations focused on support for people living with autism; in contrast to the many groups prioritizing advocacy or scientific research, NEXT For AUTISM addresses the current, pressing needs of people with autism and their families. The innovative programs they design, launch, and support aim to provide meaningful answers to the question: what's next for people on the autism spectrum? And since 2005, the Night of Too Many Stars benefit show has helped fund those programs, raising more than $24 million over the last 11 years.
NEXT for AUTISM makes the most of the money it receives from benefit shows and other sources. By building desperately needed schools and launching new dedicated services, the organization reaches and supports thousands of individuals, families, and communities across the country. To learn more about NEXT for AUTISM, or to make a donation to this organization, visit their website here—you can make a donation there, too!
People on the autism spectrum experience life in many different ways, which means that programs designed to support them must be just as diverse as they are. Fortunately, in recent years, a number of businesses and brands have launched services specifically catering to people living with autism, helping expand the access that those folks have to some of life's most meaningful experiences. HooplaHa has captured some of these experiences...
Autism on the Seas (a special needs travel agency) and Royal Caribbean (which is a certified autism-friendly cruise line) offer vacations designed for families with autistic members. For the Ansley family, this meant going on the cruise of a lifetime together.
It's not only big, national businesses that are offering opportunities specifically for people on the autism spectrum. Rising Tide, a Florida car wash founded in 2013 by John D'Eri and his son Tom so that they could work alongside Tom's brother Andrew (who is on the spectrum), now employs 35 adults living with autism in an enthusiastic, social, and supportive environment.
And events like Love & Autism: A Conference with Heart provide inclusive, fun environments for people on the autism spectrum to meet, talk, and even celebrate milestones like a wedding! Anita and Abraham, who met at an Asperger's group, held their marriage ceremony and reception at the conference and filled their wedding with people on the spectrum. You can watch their full story below!
Every person deserves a life of fulfillment, excitement, and joy. As the above videos demonstrate, there is an increasingly pointed effort to make such experiences accessible to people living with autism. That is something worth celebrating!
Be sure to catch the Night of Too Many Stars benefit show this Saturday night at 8pm on HBO, to get some big belly laughs and also to help support NEXT for AUTISM. With all of our support, NEXT for AUTISM can continue giving people on the spectrum the fulfillment, excitement, and joy that they deserve.