September 2020
Laugh Yourself Blue 2020
Co-Emcees Tory Shulman and Al Jackson
of Daily Blast Live
Kelly Stahlman was honored with the 2020 Firefly Luminescence Award for Children's Advocacy. Kelly has worked tirelessly to help strengthen laws related to access to services for people with disabilities and their families. In this picture is Kelly's son, Eric, who passed away a few years ago after living more than 20 years with Cerebral Palsy, and Kelly Stahlman.
The live paddle raiser event. This event helped raise more than $400,000 dollar for Firefly Autism. Pictured here are Firefly CEO and Executive Director, Jesse Ogas and Special guest auctioneer, Denver on-air media personality, Eric Goodman
Mortenson Construction was awarded the 2020 Firefly Luminescence Award for Community Impact. Mortenson has long made major differences in working with Denver area businesses and nonprofits to construct and improve their spaces. Mortenson has time and again put people in front of profit and is a huge contributor to the space where Firefly Autism has provided treatment. In this picture, L-R: Jessica, Jesse, Gene, Maya.
The virtual gala that set the bar for live, online fundraising events!
Moving our Laugh Yourself Blue from an in-person event at the Seawell Ballroom in Downtown Denver to a computer screen was a hard pill to swallow. For nine years, Laugh Yourself Blue has been one of the most anticipated, attended and effective charity events in Colorado. There is just something special about joining over 400 of your friends, dressing up in your best blue attire and coming together for great food, libation, and live comedy while supporting a great cause.
Frankly, we were worried. Would we lose sponsors? Would people still participate? Would people still provide us the financial assistance that helps shore up our programs and keep our lights on?

YES. Thanks to the incredibly capable and innovative technical team at Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the best event planning company in the state, Eventful Productions, we delivered a night that will easily be remembered as the tele-event of the summer. A professional, fun and flawlessly executed evening of heartwarming moments, messages and not just comedy, but Michael Jr. provided a very meaningful message delivered with the perfect complement of humor.

What more? You still gave. Oh did you! Firefly Autism raised over $400,000 dollars due to this event; FAR exceeding our hopes and even our budgeting projections pre-COVID.

Thank you to the great team that worked countless hours to plan and re-plan and then change those plans to eventually produce something that mattered and something we are all very proud of.

You can watch our event by clicking on the button below but know, we had to remove our comedians per their contracts. However the event is still worth a watch if you missed it.

Thank you to our co-emcees Tory Shulman and Al Jackson of Daily Blast Live fame. Such a professional job. Thank you to our guest auctioneer, Eric Goodman. For many years your passion and energy has helped raise much needed funding for Firefly Autism. Thanks to Renee and Denise from Eventful Productions for more than we can write about in this newsletter. Thanks to Ryan at Barolo Grill for designing and preparing an incredible custom menu for our event. And thank you to the team at Denver Center for the Performing Arts for turning the can't miss charity event in Denver into the can't miss charity event on your screen.

See ya next year, hopefully in person!
Board Member of the Month
Meet Travis Plakke
Each month, Firefly Autism is featuring a member of our incredible Board of Directors and sharing a little bit about their story and what brought them to their volunteer service with Firefly. To kick off our inaugural feature, we would like to introduce you, for those that don't know him, to Travis Plakke. Travis has been on the BOD for 2 years. Travis is also on the spectrum. He has leveraged the advantages autism has on the brain to help build and run successful businesses.
Travis and his wife Leigh Sullivan were co-chairs for this year's Laugh Yourself Blue. In addition, Travis, who has deep ties to the restaurateur community in Denver, created a partnership with Barolo Grill to provide an incredible custom prepared meal to some of the participants of Laugh Yourself Blue. We are thankful of all the hours of planning and work Travis has given to Firefly Autism. We appreciate our Board!
Click on the link to watch a short video feature we filmed with Travis in February about how he has turned this "dis"advantage to a life of success, happiness and giving back.
New services at Firefly Autism
Sibling Groups:
Firefly Autism is now offering an after school sibling program on selected week days from 4:45pm-6:15pm. The group is specifically for siblings of individuals with autism or related diagnoses, and aims to engage individuals in activities to build their creative and learning skills while socializing with others with shared perspectives and experiences. Each session will give the children a chance to demonstrate and share their ideas while having fun. Interested individuals will be grouped based on similar age ranges. 
Please contact: with any questions or to express your interest.
Adult Groups:
We are also initiating a social emotional skill group for high functioning adults on the autism spectrum. Sessions will focus on adaptive therapeutic strategies to address rigidity or over-focus on irrelevant things that may be getting in the way of meaningful progress towards life goals, and teach and encourage values driven behavior. The sessions will also build in practical skills training, job readiness, and passion area content and activities. The ultimate goal is to bring together like minded individuals to socialize and spend time sharing and gathering skills for their lives. 
Please contact with any questions or to express your interest.
Thanks to our Sponsors!
Special Thanks to the team at Appliance Factory Warehouse who donated a 8 new refrigerators for use in our center!!
This generous donation goes a long way to help free up capital funds we need to help with the upkeep and maintenance of other areas of our new center. Your gifts will be well used and well appreciated for many years to come! Thanks again!
Mortenson Construction donated a variety of supplies (sensory items, art supplies, backpacks, etc.) that can be used across the entire center! These materials will be used for client programming/reinforcement and classroom supplies. Additionally, we were able to send home items for children who could benefit from having extra supplies in the home setting. As a non-profit, these donations are greatly appreciated by staff and clients!
In so many ways, Mortenson Construction continues to make a huge difference in the life of our students and families.
High Five Plumbing Makes Firefly Autism August Recipient of High Five Cares gift
Thank you to High 5 Plumbing for your generous donation to our programs. High 5 Plumbing has made giving back to the community a core value and important business practice. Their gift will be used to help support our programs and students allowing those funds to be used for capital and operation expenditures. Thanks again to High 5! Check out the live feed from the donation event on our Facebook page!

Be sure to pick up your copy of Where is Baby Ford written by Al Jackson of Daily Blast Live. This book is about life on the spectrum and addresses important issues that will be relevant to friends and family members of Firefly Autism. The book is available for sale at Firefly Autism's Lakewood Center. Inquire about the book today!