While 2018 may be the last year for the, now iconic, cross-country Warped Tour; the energy was just as vibrant and excited as I imagine it was 20 years ago. Next to the stage of screaming concert-goers and crowd-surfing sat our team at our table raising awareness for the American Autism Association.

We set up our table at the Unite the United tent, which allows multiple non profits to share a space and raise awareness for their respective organizations. Though the day was long and hot, it was fun being able to raise awareness and to create bonds with people over a shared goal.

Over the course of the day, we had all kinds of people and groups come up to our table to show their support for our organization and our cause. We had parents talk to us about their children, siblings talk about their families, people who talked about their friends, and others who just wanted to learn about what our organization was all about. Some of the most incredible stories were from people on the spectrum themselves, who would come over and talk about their own experience.

For me, one story that stood out was when a woman from another table in the same Unite the United booth we were in came over to talk to us. She told us about her friend, who was on the spectrum, who was having trouble finding a job, and her frustrations at the discrimination her friend was facing. She wrote down her friend’s email and phone number, and it was an example of how important the work we are doing is.

Attending the festival was a wonderful opportunity that allowed for plenty of raising awareness and fundraising. The festival was an exciting way of reaching out to a population full of people who wanted to share their stories and learn a bit more about what the American Autism Association does. The enthusiasm of the festival-goers was infectious, and it was wonderful to know that people would take times out of their busy festival day to try and do some good.

If anyone is interested in having the American Autism Association at an event, please contact us through out email [email protected].

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