Volunteers Ready To Help Make Acoustics For Autism A Success

Each year, thousands line the streets and fill the local businesses in uptown Maumee for Acoustics for Autism, a fundraiser for Project iAm, which supports local families impacted by autism. Above, volunteers including, back row (from left) Cindy Jones and Dan Dowling, center row, Dee Dowling, Anna Mossburg and Lindsey Kosik, and, front row, Christina Blake and Cathy Ross work in the silent auction tent at last year’s event. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — With the return of the daylong Acoustics for Autism music festival on Sunday, March 3 in uptown Maumee, Project iAm will receive even more funding to support local families impacted by autism.

Without that funding, some families will struggle with the financial demands of various necessities for their children.

“It just all adds up so quickly,” said Lindsey Binder, the mom of 5-year-old Tommy.

When doctors diagnosed Tommy’s speech delay near his third birthday, his parents began searching for a place to send him for therapy.

“I called probably every speech place in the surrounding area, and they all had a several-month waitlist,” Lindsey said. “We were fortunate enough to get on a shorter waitlist with Rehab Dynamics and they’re wonderful.”

Payment for Tommy’s speech visits was difficult, though.

As Rehab Dynamics was out-of-network from Lindsey’s insurance carrier, the cost was much higher than the family could easily afford out of pocket.

Speech and occupational therapy appointments quickly added up for the Binders, who started doing self-pay at Rehab Dynamics and had set up a payment plan with the private therapy practice.

“It can be a tough position as a parent when you know your child needs something, especially when you see how well they’re progressing, and you have to find different ways to support it,” Lindsey said.

After connecting with someone through an autism support group on Facebook, Lindsey began looking at grants and other ways to afford the necessary therapies for her son.

The issue she was running into, however, was that none of them would apply that funding toward the approximately $6,000 the family already owed for Tommy’s appointments.

“Project iAm, when I applied for that scholarship, they were so kind to retroactively cover it,” Lindsey said.

After learning more about Acoustics for Autism, the Binder family volunteered at last year’s event in an effort to give back to the organization that has helped them, and they are scheduled to volunteer this year, too.

“One thing I’ve really found with Project iAm is that they really care. The effort and time I’m putting in to help volunteer, they’re paying it forward to others and paying it back to me,” Lindsey said.

When Becky and Scott Kunzler were approached to volunteer with Project iAm, they realized how much care everyone was putting into the organization.

“We all work hard throughout the year to impact these families and the funds raised are going to help people who really need it,” Becky said.

For approximately eight years, Becky and Scott have continued to volunteer with the organization, and often work at the beer tent with many of the same volunteers every year, Becky said.

Nearly every person who provides their time and energy at Acoustics for Autism will walk away with a smile.

“This is just one of those feel-good things,” Becky said. “We all have darkness around us, and the world is not always happy, but this is a happy event.”

Regardless of the work, whether serving beers, providing bracelets, cleaning up, setting up or selling raffle tickets, each volunteer opportunity is worth it for the funds that the event brings in for Project iAm and the families like the Binders, volunteers say.

“They’ve even named some of the scholarships after the volunteers, and when we got the letter with the name of the girl who received our scholarship, we just cried,” Becky said.

This year, the event will be even bigger, with hopes of raising enough money to cross the million-dollar threshold for total funds raised, to help even more families.

Ninety-five bands will fill eight stages in uptown Maumee on Sunday, March 3, from noon to 2:00 a.m.

The 300 block of Conant Street will be closed for the Conant Stage, the 100 block of West Dudley will house food trucks and the 100 block of West Wayne Street will feature the Wayne Street Stage.

The bier garden tent and silent auction tent will also be located in the West Mews parking lot.

Other family-friendly opportunities will exist at the Maumee Indoor Theater at 601 Conant St., with sensory-friendly activities from noon to 2:00 p.m. immediately followed by a showing of Sing, with limited seating available.

“It will be an amazing, fun afternoon. It’s a family-friendly event for an amazing cause, so everyone can find something they’ll like to do,” Becky said.

For more information on the schedule of events or to purchase shuttle tickets to and from the event, those interested can visit acousticsforautism.com.

More information on the organization and future volunteer opportunities can be found on the Project iAm Facebook page.

“The event is on March 3 this year, so on March 4, we start planning for next year,” Becky said. “You can sign up and start helping us plan right away. We need all the volunteers we can get.”

“I am truly thankful and grateful for everyone who sponsors or donates their time, money or gifts. Every little bit helps,” Lindsey added.

Donations can always be made to Acoustics for Autism by texting GIVEAFA to 44321 or by visiting the donate tab at acousticsforautism.com.

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