Passionate activists and citizens of Toledo, Ohio are raising autism awareness through music. According to the Acoustics for Autism website, Project iAm is a fundraiser dedicated to raising money to help alleviate the financial burden that often comes with caring for loved ones on the autism spectrum.

Project iAm is a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is entirely volunteer-based, with proceeds going towards grants and scholarships for families in need. In addition to providing scholarships, they provide people with other helpful information and resources, including running a Facebook page that functions as a forum for parents of children with autism to connect and share their experiences and stories with each other.

Nicole Khoury and Dave Carpenter first brought the project to life ten years ago in March of 2008, and it has continued to grow since then, with more than sixty bands now performing for the event. The annual event has been a huge success and, according to the Toledo Blade, they’ve raised nearly $200,000 for local families in need.

In an interview posted to YouTube, Khoury recognized a need for an organization that would directly help her community, including friends whose stories inspired her to organize the fundraiser.

The event was free to the public and has helped to unite the community for an important cause. Their website further displays the strength of the community through their Scholarship Hall of Fame, where they honor people who have helped contribute to the fundraising, as well as the children who they have helped. By putting names and faces to the scholarships, they are helping make the impact of the fundraiser feel even more real for the community.

The strength and unity of the Toledo community in the name of helping children with autism is reminiscent of the “it takes a village to raise a child” proverb that we so often hear—multiple types of people within a community to ensure that the children grow up in a safe and healthy environment with the services they need.

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