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The Autism Society of Edmonton Area (ASEA) helps families and communities embrace and support people on the autism spectrum throughout their lives.
On Wednesday, May 29th, ASEA held its annual Autism Awards Night celebration to recognize the actions taken by individuals to accept and appreciate all the different members of their community.
Over 100 people from all walks of society attended to pay tribute to the outstanding contributions of our 20 recipients, including employers, educators, key workers, advocates, peers and family members.
We were particularly honoured by the attendance of the Honourable Frank Oberle, MLA for Peace River and Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities. Mr. Oberlebrought greetings from the provincial government and was even able to stay long enough to co-present the first three awards in the Employer/Workplace category.
The compelling stories of achievement we heard came from a wide variety of community members; our Employer/Workplace recipients included a locally-owned franchise (Fastsigns), a government department (Alberta Education Learning Resource Centre) and Canada's largest western-based food store chain (Save-On-Foods).
In our Education category, we were moved to see such a high level of engagement, with eight nominees representing six different schools in the region (Queen Elizabeth High School in Edmonton, St. Leo Catholic Elementary School in Edmonton, Willow Park School in Leduc, Father Kenneth Kearns School in Sherwood Park, John A McDougall School in Edmonton, and Elk Island Catholic Schools in Strathcona County).
The Key Worker/Advocate category was the largest category of the night, with nine different award nominations for the effective and empathetic gestures made by individuals to support others with dignity and care, and help lend a voice to those who are not always able to speak up for themselves.
By acknowledging the important contributions our recipients have made in the lives around them, ASEA hopes to encourage more individuals, organizations and corporations to be active in their community, and to continue to embrace and support people on the autism spectrum.