Marlborough – More than 55 households joined a virtual party April 2, dancing with their families, roommates and pets. Crossroads, a nonprofit organization for individuals with autism based in Marlborough, hosted a “Social DisDance Party,” inviting members of the community to join together in dance over a video conferencing platform. The party was a chance to foster community, celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, and ask individuals to donate what they could to support the organization during the pandemic. The event raised $1,600 in only four days between the event and when it was announced earlier that week.
Music teacher Kayla McLaughlin led the group in a warm-up song with music played through her computer, and then allowed the group to “freestyle” for a few songs before turning it back to Crossroads CEO Mark Dumas, Ph.D., who was also dancing with his family.
Dumas thanked the participants, as well as their Hero Partners, Definitive Healthcare, Hunneman, Middlesex Savings Bank, and Modular Concepts, who have committed to supporting Crossroads throughout the year.
“It was the highlight of my week! Seeing everyone’s smiling faces again was incredible,” said Kelley Borer-Miller, CFRE, Development Director at Crossroads School. “We’re continuously trying to think of exciting and creative new ways to engage our community and celebrate our students. We want our community to know that our staff are still working to provide the best education for our students. Just because our doors are closed, doesn’t mean we stop supporting our families.”
Crossroads is one of many organizations coming up with creative virtual events to supplement their losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to losing revenue from cancelled services, Crossroads has also cancelled and postponed annual fundraising events such as the Apex Blue Drinks, Autism Awareness Fitness classes, and their annual 5K and Family Fun Day, which was budgeted to raise $50,000.
The students, who typically receive 2:1 or 1:1 education, are at home with their families, but the staff at Crossroads is helping students and their families by creating materials tailored to their new home-learning routines and helping parents troubleshoot any problem behavior that is happening as the result of the disrupted routine.
Parents and staff agree, the highlight of the shutdown has been the virtual activities. The Social DisDance Party was such an overwhelming success that the organization plans to make it a weekly event, even adding themes, like this week’s Disney dress-up, where participants are encouraged to dress like their favorite Disney character and dance to a Disney- themed playlist. The event is free of charge and everyone is welcome to participate. You can register at www.crossroadsschoolma.org/social-disdance.
To learn more about Crossroads, visit www.crossroadsschoolma.org.