Easter Seals Uses Autism Awareness Month to Raise Money for Playground Project

- ROCKFORD -- 1 in every 68 US children is diagnosed with autism according to a new report out by the CDC. Now, a Stateline school is expanding to meet the needs of this growing group, but it can't do it alone.

At the Easter Seals playground swings sway empty in the breeze and a slide begs to be slid down. So where are the kids on this sunny spring day? Stuck inside.

"We have a really large playground space, but it is not completely fenced in so we would like to completely fence that in and also make sure that it's handicap accessible and add some additional equipment," said Jacque Ruch, school administrator.

They are renovations that add up to more than $80 thousand. It's a bill the school can't foot on it's own.

"April is Autism Awareness [Month], and this is when we start our big fundraising drive," Ruch said. "So during April, we have our hangtag promotion going on, and we have our collection jars at more than 40 outlets out in the community."

Including at Monkey Joes where a dozen hangtags already cling to a window. Each of them only represents $1,  but that donation means the school can continue to provide services to a growing community.

"We have a capacity here to add 40 new students and also a plan to expand further to meet the growing need of the increased number of people on the autism spectrum," said Ruch.

All of them learning in an environment where they tackle the challenges associated with autism. 

"We want them to be able to achieve the greatest success they can," Ruch said.

The following is a list of businesses participating in the Autism Awareness fundraiser:
        11th Street Express Printing, Rockford.
        640 Meats, Loves Park.
        Al Grace Appliance, Rockford.
        All Day Donut, Rockford.
        Associated Bank, Main Street Branch, Rockford.
        Bailey's Edge Pub & Fine Dining, Forreston.
        Bob E Pins Salon, Winnebago.
        Casey's Pub, Loves Park.
        Cronies Grill, Machesney Park.
        Culver's of Belvidere
        Dimond Brothers Ins., Forreston.
        D.I.Y.ogert, Belvidere.
        District Bar and Grill, Rockford.
        Dr. Zak's Tooth Fairy Castle, Rockford.
        Ecowater Systems, Loves Park.
        Forreston Hardware, Forreston.
        Forreston Library, Forreston.
        Gill's Diner, Machesney Park.
        Gray's Foods, Rockford.
        Gruno's Diamonds, Rockford.
        Guler Appliance, Rockford
        Hope & Anchor Pub, Loves Park.
        JoJo's Pizza, Rockford.
        Josh's Saloon, Forreston.
        Maciano's Pizza, Loves Park and Rockford.
        Malcolm Pediatric Dentistry, Belvidere.
        Meg's Daily Grind, Rockford (both locations).
        Mimmo's Pizza Restaurant, Forreston.
        Dr. Philip & Patricia Miner, Rockford.
        Monkey Joe's Parties & Play, Rockford.
        Nicholson Hardware, Rockford.
        Olympic Tavern, Rockford.
        Pediatric Dentistry of N. IL Ltd., Rockford.
        Pig Minds Brewing Co., Machesney Park.
        Red's Tavern, Belvidere.
        Rockford Beauty School, Rockford.
        Roly Poly, Rockford.
        Roxy Carmichael, Rockford.
        Sam's Pizza, Rockford
        Sam's Ristorante, Machesney Park and Rockford.
        2nd Cousins Bar and Grill, Loves Park.
        Snyder's Pharmacy, Poplar Grove.
        Stumpy's Pub, Rockford.
        The Angle Salon, Forreston.
        Thunder Bay Grille, Rockford.
        Dr. Charles Wagener, DDS, Loves Park.
        Wire Café, Rockford.

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