YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — On Saturday, at the Rich Center for Autism a check was presented from two people very close to the organization, and it won’t just help the kids but also their parents and families.
“No one understands the life of a parent [of a child] with autism. They’re true heroes,” said Georgia Backus, former executive director of the Rich Center for Autism.
Backus was joined by Doug Krinsky, the founder of Ante4Autism, as they presented the Rich Center for Autism a check for $27,593.
“If it’s taking the kids to the playground, if it’s taking lessons, if they want to go — if the parents just want to go get their nails done, that’s what the money is for,” Backus said.
Backus and Krinsky met over 20 years ago. Krinsky has a child with autism. Together, he and Backus created opportunities for children on the spectrum in Ohio. Then, Krinsky’s family created a nonprofit. Every year they host a poker tournament to raise money for charities, including the Rich Center.
“I know, as a parent, the kind of services the parents need and they’ve got to have that support, so we want to continue to give to groups like the Rich Center every year to give back to the parents, the kids and the adults — like my son on the spectrum — get the services they need,” said Krinsky. “We’re very happy to support the rich center. They do great work, and we love what they do.”
The money will go to an endowment within the Youngstown State University Foundation.
Interim executive director of the Rich Center Michael Latessa said some of the money will go toward creating a parent resource room.
“For an organization that relies heavily on donor support to help fund our mission — having not only a donor at any point in time, but someone who’s a return donor who feels that passionately about us to not only donate once but to come back and establish a fund and to continuously provide support — is vital to us and we’re much appreciative,” Latessa said.
Latessa added that seeing the community support what the Rich Center emphasizes the importance of what they do.
T.J. Renninger contributed to this report.