Chances are that most of us know someone, who in some way, is impacted by autism. Our teammate and friend, Jason Pleggenkuhle, Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator with Midwest Family Lending, has been directly impacted by autism. “Our son struggled with social emotional development. We discovered that he was on the autism spectrum when in elementary school,” says Jason. After he and his wife, Jacki took appropriate measures to make sure their son was getting the help and support he needed, they started seeing a huge difference in Jacob’s socialization with others. Jason nominated Autism Society of Iowa because they assist families in finding resources that help children develop and flourish.
“To be selected as an MFLCares Charity is a great privilege, and we were so pleased and surprised to receive the call from Jason Pleggenkuhl,” says Kris Steinmetz, Executive Director of Autism Society of Iowa. “To be recognized and given the ability to share how we help those with Autism in Iowa is an honor, and we are very humbled to receive this award.”
You are very welcome Kris, but the thanks goes to YOU!
When you hear of the Autism Society of Iowa, you probably think of a pretty big organization with quite a few staff members. They are, after all, serving the ENTIRE state of Iowa by creating connections to empower everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. They exist to serve the Iowa Autism community through advocacy, community programming, and creating a more inclusive world. That’s a pretty big mission! That should take a lot of people! Right? That’s what we thought!
We couldn’t have been more wrong! The Autism Society of Iowa has 2 staff members. You heard it, 2! Two! Deuce! Kris Steinmetz the Executive Director, and Erin Enyart, Treasurer and Co-Director. These two amazing ladies, who have both been personally impacted by autism in their families, run the entire show, along with a pretty impressive board.
Let’s see what they are doing!
They host zoom networking and support groups for adults with Autism, high school students, and parents and caregivers. They provide the book Navigating Iowa’s System of Care: A Caregivers Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders to families who have a newly diagnosed child.
They host educational opportunities, including educational conferences, lunch and learns, and an employment conference for adults with Autism. They also co-host a conference each year with the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital Autism Center. This year it will be on profound Autism.
The Autism Advocacy and Acceptance Day at the Iowa State Capitol is a wonderful event where they hand out shirts and have a rally with legislators. This is followed by an advocacy training session and opportunity for those in attendance to meet their legislators.
They offer four college scholarships, family grants to pay for extracurricular activities, camps, or classes, and have a monthly newsletter that includes Autism specific information each month.
They rent local swimming pools for individuals with autism, their families and caregivers, so they can swim without the distractions of a typical swimming environment.
To say the least, we couldn’t be more impressed with the Autism Society of Iowa! They are making a difference in the lives of those impacted by autism. Did we mention they do all this with TWO PEOPLE! In addition, 93% of their budget goes back into the community. Dang! It’s hard not to want to jump in and help!
Thank you Kris, Erin, and your Board Members! Thank you for educating us! Thank you for making lives better!
Thanks to Autism Society of Iowa, and the many organizations they work with, kids and adults with autism can flourish in this world. They can succeed. In the words of Jason, “the Autism Society of Iowa helps families find resources like the ones we used for helping children develop and flourish. We are so proud of our son who has successfully graduated from high school and earned Liberal Arts and Animation degrees. Our son is smart, loving, talented, and has so much to offer the world – just like others with autism and autism disorders.”