World Autism Awareness Day April 2nd 2024

NSA Canada Slo-Pitch with SPFA

SPFA is a series of tournaments run by Awareness Athletics Inc. Our goals are to raise Autism awareness by spending some time at each tournament talking about Autism to the participants, to raise understanding by educating people on the facts of Autism and to hopefully help people with Autism gain acceptance. After that the next goal is to raise funds for families. To do that we take donations. Every dollar donated goes directly to assist a person with Autism. On top of that, we top up that number from our profits. We do not want to give the perception that we are charity tournaments. We are not. What we are though, is a business that is doing what we can to help families of Autism.

Although we are not parents of Autistic children, we had many friends that were and saw the rate of growth within North America. At our first tournament in 2011 the Autism rate was 1 in 144. By 2018 that has grown to 1 in 54 and 1 in 42 in boys. Autism is the fastest growing disorder in North America as well as the most under-funded. We ran our first tournament in Belleville in 2011 for a local Autism charity called Adam’s Hope. It was successful enough that we decided to try again next year and it grew. The following year we took the tournament to Milton and did that tournament for Kerry’s Place Autism Services. In 2014 we added Kingston and supported Kingston 4 Paws. This was the year that we knew we were really doing some good.

2015 started a new chapter for us. In the beginning we knew that we had to work with charities to build our credibility but we always wanted to find ways to donate directly to families. In 2015 we started offering teams the option to represent a family of Autism. From each tournament a family would be drawn to receive a donation. We added tournaments in Guelph, Barrie and Cobourg. By the end of this year we were ready to expand a lot. In 2016 we hosted 17 tournaments and in 2017 45 tournaments. We decided that every family represented would go on our donation wait list.

The response has been staggering. Each family represented receives $500.

Our tournaments are more than just a ball tourney. We have time blocked off to speak with the participants. This is the time that we give away prizes, but more importantly, we speak to the crowd about Autism and why we are there. We often have people with Autism or family members speak at this time. This is the time that the participants really get to understand the impact of what we are doing. It is, to us, the most important time of the tournament. We look forward to seeing you at a SPFA event near you!

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