The Dan Marino Foundation in Fort Lauderdale will celebrate the autism community with various initiatives and events during Autism Acceptance & Awareness Month throughout April. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the lives of children, teens, and adults with autism. When Dan and Claire Marino created the nonprofit in 1992, the prevalence of autism was three in 10,000. Today the CDC reports that one in 36 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism every year.
Throughout April, the Foundation will honor the autism community by flying “Accept Without Limits” flags on Las Olas Boulevard from SE 6th Avenue to SE 10th Avenue and on the Water Taxis in Fort Lauderdale. The Foundation is also introducing a new “Drink Blue” campaign partnering with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, La Adelita Tequila and Treasury Wine Estates. Local restaurants are participating by offering drink specials, with proceeds from the campaign being donated to the Foundation.
On Sunday, April 23, the Dan Marino Foundation Autism Awareness Month Family Sunday will be held on The Lawn at Dania Pointe in Dania Beach. Families are invited to autism-friendly entertainment, including music, interactive performances, refreshments and life-size games such as chess, Connect 4 and more. The Marketplace showcases nonprofit community partners who will offer information on their services and local resources.
Dan and Claire Marino created the nonprofit organization after their son, Michael, was diagnosed with autism in 1992. Its mission is to “empower individuals with autism and other diverse abilities.” Among its unique and impactful initiatives are the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center, the Marino Autism Research Institute, Marino Adapted Aquatics and the Marino Campus postsecondary school. Utilizing technology as a development tool, the Foundation is at the forefront of initiating award-winning technologies. It uses virtual and mixed reality to support individuals in employment and social skills that lead to independence and a brighter future.