NOVEMBER 2018 | ISSUE 135
Many Reasons to Be Thankful

A message of gratitude from 
Dr. Aaron Blocher-Rubin, CEO

As we head into the season of giving thanks, many of us are reminded that nothing in life should be taken for granted, and we certainly have a lot to be grateful for here at AZA United.  To begin, I am thankful that the work we give ourselves to every day matters so much to the people who lean on us for support.  As a mission-based nonprofit organization, not much could be more important than that.  I'm also continually humbled by the fact that the organization I helped start 13 years ago is now full of people with huge hearts, incredible creativity and a strong work ethic, who make a conscious choice every day to share their talents and build their futures here with Team AZA. 
 
I got into this field because my youngest brother is affected by autism.  The mission of helping families has always been personal for me.  Today I'm thankful that families continue to be the most important voice in the organization.  We have deep relationships with many parents who give us great ideas and important feedback, as well as support our efforts through donating and volunteering.  That includes our wonderful team of board members, who are mostly parents themselves and care deeply about our community impact and organizational vision.  The best part of any family, of course, is the kids, and having the privilege to get to know and help so many wonderful children is the by far best part of our job.  I'm also incredibly thankful for all the partners, colleagues, and leaders in the community that are working together to have a collective impact that is much larger than ourselves.
 
When we first started, I didn't know much about running an organization.  Now I have learned that one of the most important elements of a successful enterprise is organizational culture, and I am tremendously thankful for what we have going here at AZA.  I love that our team is friendly, smart, enthusiastic and hard-working.  We never hesitate to help a teammate in need, and we're highly motivated to help each other succeed.  Like all great teams, everyone fills an important role.  Some of us turn mundane processes like data entry and Excel formulas into a labor of love, a work of art, while others can take what appears to be a boring old pile of blocks and dinosaurs and construct an irresistible kingdom of imaginative play and social adventure.  
 
As we come into the home stretch of 2018, I am thankful that the vision of expansion we have been preaching for two years is finally happening.  Our people are aligned, our families are excited, and our donors are making it all possible.  I am beyond thankful for the support we have received from our supporters who believe in what we are trying to accomplish and trust us to put their funds to the best possible use.  We remain committed to our mission to help as many families as possible with individualized supports.  Above all, I am thankful that this mission is still the beacon that guides us, that it is real, and that next year we are going to take a huge leap forward in achieving it. 
 
On behalf of all of us here at Team AZA, Happy Thanksgiving to your family!


Direct Your Tax Credit to Help Us Expand Our Reach

Give the gift of hope! When you give to AZA United, you provide direct support to kids and families affected by autism. 87 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to programs for kids and families, and all funds stay locally in Arizona. 
Click here to view our 2018 Annual Report to learn about the impact we have made with your help in the community.
Arizona allows you to direct some of your tax dollars to charities you support, like AZA United. The Charitable Organization Tax Credit can be combined with other tax credits, such as the private and public/charter school and foster care tax credits. You don't have to pick and choose - you can claim them all. See this short video to learn more about the tax credit.
Arizona donors can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples. Donations to AZA United are also tax-deductible on qualifying federal returns.
This holiday season, your donation can go even further as we look to expand and open our big new center to help more families in need.  Help us grow and reach more families in need!
To donate, visit AZAunited.org/donate. Thanks for your support!
A Night with Santa on the Polar Express

All aboard! With the help of AZA United, twelve families kicked off the holiday season with a trip aboard the Polar Express in Williams, Arizona. Fifty tickets were graciously provided by Grand Canyon Railways

Families enjoyed sipping hot chocolate with a side of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies while enjoying a train ride to the North Pole. Families read The Polar Express book under the guidance of Santa's helpers and made lasting memories as they sang various festive carols. New friendships were made and fun was had by all! Santa himself greeted all of the children one by one and provided each boy and girl with a special gift. 

To participate in events like this, follow us on social media: @AZAunited

Announcements

The offices of Arizona Autism United will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday!
 


Upcoming Events

Arizona Autism United is a
proud supporter of the Autism 
Society of Greater Phoenix's annual Sensitive Santa event. There will be 2 events this year. The Phoenix event will take place on December 1st and the Chandler event will take place on December 8th. Registration is required; limited spots available!
Link of the Month

Need help with your child's education? Parents, educators, advocates and attorneys visit Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. 

Learn more here

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Arizona Autism United | info@azaunited.org | 602.773.5773 | azaunited.org