Health Hero Giving Day


Be a health hero! People impacted by life-altering health diagnoses need your help. By making a gift on Health Hero Giving Day, hosted by United Way of the Midlands and the Combined Health Agencies Drive on Feb. 24th, you can provide them with the hope and support they need to navigate difficult health challenges. Scroll down to learn more about the 21 participating CHAD health agencies and make your gift today!

United Way of the Midlands has been a proud partner of Combined Health Agencies Drive since 1987.


Autism Action Partnership

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Agency Name: Autism Action Partnership

Formed in: 2008

Why your gift is needed:

Autism Action Partnership (AAP) has served the needs of the Nebraska autism community for over a decade. Over that time, the diagnosis and prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has grown significantly, worldwide and locally. In 2020, the Center for Disease Control released a study indicating that 1 in 54 children are being diagnosed with ASD, which is nearly 2% of all children. With the growing population has come a greater array of needs and a greater demand of services for individuals with autism and their families. With your support, AAP will continue to serve the autism community, as well as create a more inclusive and sensory-friendly community for those affected by autism to enjoy.

  • The CDC estimates that 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism. This means up to 32,500 Nebraskans could be affected.
  • Autism is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric AIDS, leukemia and muscular dystrophy combined.
  • Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups; yet minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
  • Two-thirds of children with autism have been bullied.
  • About half of the individuals affected by autism wander or bolt from safety and drowning accounts for approximately 90% of deaths related to wandering incidents by those 14 and younger.
  • Over the next decade, an estimated 707,000 to 1,116,000 teens (70,700 to 111,600 annually) will enter adulthood and age out of school-based autism services.
  • More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. This is a lower rate than that of young adults in other disability categories, including learning disabilities, intellectual disability, or speech-language impairment.
  • Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job.
  • Autism costs a family approximately $60,000 annually for special services and lost wages.
  • The majority of autism’s costs in the U.S. are for adult services – an estimated $175 to $196 billion a year, compared to $61 to $66 billion a year for children.

What your gift will do:

  • $25 creates a sensory kit for an individual with autism.
  • $50 allows a child to participate in Summer Art Camp.
  • $100 allows a family to attend a Making Memories event.
  • $250 provides autism training to a business.
  • $350 provides a Project Lifesaver bracelet (and services) to a family.
  • $500 funds the creation of a new Circle of Friends program.
  • $1,000 helps a PACE Participant become job-ready.
  • $2,500 pays Work Experience wages for a PACE participant.
  • $5,000 offers an entire Making Memories event to the community.

Agency Summary:

Our mission is to improve the quality of life of persons on the autism spectrum and their families through education, advocacy, and support, thereby enabling them to be an integral part of the community. We fulfill our mission by focusing on Education, Workforce Development, and Enrichment and Inclusion. Our Education efforts include Circle of Friends and PEERS, state-wide social skills programs that reduce isolation and bullying and improve academic and community engagement. We offer training sessions, workshops, and conferences to increase knowledge among the autism community and those who care for or provide services to them, as well as education opportunities to increase awareness and acceptance among the general community. In the fall of 2021, we will launch a post-secondary program to promote prosperity among adults with autism after high school. Partnership for Autism Career Employment (PACE) is our workforce development program that provides direct services to businesses and job seekers (with autism) to match needs and talents in permanent employment positions. Through Enrichment and Inclusion initiatives, we create opportunities for families to safely and comfortably enjoy local, community events and activities (at low/no cost), while also training and supporting organizations that would like to improve the inclusivity of their business practices.

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