The late great Jean Vanier once said that the marvelous thing about community was that it enabled us to welcome and help people in a way we couldnâ€™t as individuals. The SAAAC Autism Centre is a testament to countless individuals, businesses, and institutions coming together, pooling their strengths to support the growth and development of individuals with autism.
The donors that help fuel many of the Centreâ€™s services and programs arenâ€™t all big corporations or government ministries. Many of them are small business owners who contribute in unique ways to help SAAAC fulfill its mission of making autism services equitable for all Canadians.
Some of these businesses joined us at our annual Holiday Market on December 7, 2019. SAAACâ€™s Holiday Market is a pretty big deal, especially to students of our Livingâ€™Nâ€™Learning Adult Day program. The event gives students from the program an opportunity to exercise their job readiness skills in a real-world setting. Students help set up and clean up; process payments; and help sell a variety of products â€“ typically donated by some of the communityâ€™s most exciting businesses.
Why Did You Get Involved?
We asked some of our small business partners on why they got involved in this yearâ€™s Holiday Market and why giving was important to them. Here are some of their answers:
Ksira Gelato – Kitchen Guerrilla, Roshan
SAAAC is legitimate. Everything donated is put to good use. We can see all the good work that is going on. When we first came to Canada, we were supported by the Salvation Army. I want to give back and help those in the community that need the support. I remember what we went through as newcomers, so now I want to do my part. I believe in SAAAC.
I came from humble means, a low-income family household. When I give, I remember a lot of that stuff. My parents always told us of who assisted us and gave us things, so now that I am older, I personally give because I know what it means to need. Itâ€™s such a rewarding feeling. I supported this great event because SAAACâ€™s values align with our companyâ€™s vision.
KK Boutique, Karthiga
The most important thing we could do is pay it forward. I feel that is our purpose in life. I want to be part of a meaningful initiative and do whatever I can to contribute. I have always attended SAAACâ€™s events, as my cousin is part of SAAAC. When I started this business, I was happy to do whatever we could to help SAAAC, which is doing amazing work and supporting the community.
Springbloom Cakes, Deepa
Helping each other is what itâ€™s all about, and thatâ€™s why giving is so important to me. It is our responsibility.
We also want to thank the following businesses who donated their incredible products and services for the Holiday Market:
This year, the SAAAC Autism Centre raised $6,000 through the holiday market, thanks to the incredible businesses that supported us and the passionate community that continually supports us. All funds raised will be reinvested into our Livingâ€™Nâ€™Learning program and other adult- focused initiatives.