On Saturday, Gravity Alley Bowling Center welcomed the public to the 2nd Annual Bowling for Autism.
The event was started in 2012 by Kelly Waters, whose younger brother Sean is autistic. It was started in an effort to help raise funds and spread autism awareness.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of "complex disorders of brain development." These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by "difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors."
They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.
Currently, autism affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys. Males are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than females.
After a successful first year it was decided that Bowling for Autism would become an annual event. For the first year the proceeds were given to Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to "funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families."
Each year a different organization that associates itself with helping individuals and families affected by autism, and possibly other mental disorders, will receive the proceeds.
This year, the recipient was Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy, a horse centered therapeutic group that works with people with various disorders, including autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida and more. They also accommodate those with physical handicaps and those dealing with strokes, amputation and even post traumatic stress disorder.
They are located in Tyler Hill, off Route 371 across from Tyler Hill Camp.
A lot of hard work and planning went into making the event happen. Getting the word out was also key.
"Flyers were put up all over the place, a press release ran in the newspapers and it was also in the calendars, a Facebook group was started and it was also shared by word of mouth," said Kelly Waters, coordinator of the event. "After learning from the first event, I branched out further and hit up several of the surrounding towns to not only spread the word, but to get raffle donations as well."
She said that several individuals also donated something to the raffle, including herself.
"I want to thank all of the businesses, individuals and members of the newspapers for donating and helping spread the word," Waters stated. "I really appreciate all the support."
She said that a big shout out also goes to Gravity Alley for "letting the event be held at their facility and for their help in promoting the event."
Page 2 of 2 - Tickets were $20 and included the games, shoes, food, drinks and even ice cream.
"It was bowl all you want for a few hours at one standard price," she explained.
The raffle was also a big hit. Tickets were three for $1 or $5 for every arm's length.
"This year we had 41 raffle prizes from businesses and individuals," Waters said. "People seemed to enjoy it and they were putting a lot of tickets into the items they wanted to win most."
New this year was a bake sale, which also had its own share of success.
"Working closely with Gravity Alley, we're always trying to find ways to improve the event and so far it's been pretty successful," she said.
Even after the event on Saturday money is still being raised, so a final amount isn't known yet. Currently the total is over $800.
"This is really great to see," Waters said. "I know Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy will be able to use the money to help enhance their program and it will allow them to continue helping individuals with disabilities."
Members of Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy were in attendance and were providing information to anyone who was interested.
"The event keeps getting bigger," Waters said. "I'm looking forward to the 3rd Annual Bowling for Autism."
For more information on Bowling for Autism, to keep up to date with what's going on and to see photos, visit www.facebook.com/bwlingforautism and give the page a "like."