Follow Me

    Read All ABOUT IT

    Current Articles | RSS Feed   RSS Feed

    Raising Autism Awareness in Greenwood


    Volunteer Zach Beasley helps run the sensory station at Layden's Lineup.

    By Lee Steffy
    Presence in a community is necessary to raise awareness about important issues. The Cornerstone Autism Foundation was created to build an understanding about Autism Spectrum Disorders and make a difference among those in the autism community.

    Since its inception in 2011, the Cornerstone Autism Foundation has provided a wide array of support to its respective communities, with the mission of maximizing those who struggle, embracing those who love and fulfilling those who serve.

    In March 2013 the Foundation unexpectedly lost one of its leaders, co-founder David Ide. Because of David’s impact on the Foundation, the events are held to honor David’s legacy and his vision of helping the autism community. Some past grants have been given to local businesses around Greenwood including:

    • Greenwood’s Splash Pad, a local water park for children of all ages in memory of David Ide

    • Rise Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation and training facility with the purpose of building a new sensory room.

    • Jack’s Walk for Autism, a local fundraiser for children with autism, which received a sponsorship from the foundation.

    By promoting autism awareness and transforming lives across the state of Indiana, the Cornerstone Foundation has continued to fulfill its purpose and honor David’s name.

    Unfortunately, autism-friendly events and fundraisers are not frequently held on the south side of Indianapolis. To remedy this, parents Rachelle and Erich Vaughn held a fundraiser in hopes that it would raise awareness within their community. Rachelle Vaughn, who named the event Layden’s Lineup after her son, volunteered her time to organize the event as a way of saying thank you to the company that is transforming the life of her child. She also wanted to show that autism not only affects individual families, but the entire community as well.

    “After Layden started at Cornerstone last April, we began to see the incredible progress he was making and the amazing relationships that had formed not only between Layden and the therapists, but also between us and various staff members there,” said Vaughn. “We knew we wanted to give back in some way. We can truly never thank Cornerstone enough for everything they’ve done for Layden and our family.”

    Many fundraisers of this nature are held on the north side, but children with autism and their families live across the map. Layden’s Lineup was a step towards branching out and starting autism events in surrounding communities.

    The event had many fun-filled activities, such as an obstacle course from Wright’s Fundamentals, a sensory area for the kids, a bounce house provided by Grand Rental Station, a safe archery exhibit from Archers for Autism, local vendors and opportunities to win prizes donated by local companies. The food was also a big hit with Donato’s gluten-free pizza and food trucks from The Flying Cupcake and Johnson’s BBQ Shack. A surprise guest who attended the event with his son was MMA fighter Chris “Lights Out” Lytle.

    Parent Cristy McArdle explained that her family thoroughly enjoyed the event, especially with it being close to their home.

    “I loved that is was an event that was designed for my son,” said McArdle. “Nobody thought twice about him playing with the other kids’ light-up shoes.”

    Layden’s Lineup provided many children with the opportunity to play in a safe environment while allowing the public to build an understanding about autism and clear up any misconceptions. Overall, the event raised over $2,000 for the Cornerstone Autism Foundation. Because it was such a success, there are plans to host this event again next year in Greenwood.

     “This whole event was organized by a family from outside of the Foundation,” said Cornerstone Co-Founder Debbie Ide. “They put their time and effort into putting on this fundraiser – they didn’t have to do that. It’s wonderful that we have parents from outside the organization who are so willing to be involved and we give special thanks to the Vaughn Family for all their hard work!”