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The One World Center for Autism Inc. is a grassroots 501c3 organization based in Prince Georges, Maryland, which addresses the myriad of challenges facing children, adolescents, and their families living with autism in our county. Our mission is to empower those affected through family support, community outreach, and individual therapeutic, medical, and educational services.
The One World Center for Autism, Inc. began in November 2007 as a coalition of parents, medical providers, educators, therapists, and county residents who had a passion for improving the lives of those living with autism in Prince Georges County. Our committed coalition was awarded a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to successfully plan a center of Excellence for Autism in our county in December 2007. Recognizing that autism is a unique, challenging, and poorly understood social and neurobiological disability, we envisioned a comprehensive center that would empower those affected in a compassionate environment, where providers and parents are partners in care and advocacy.
In 2008, we conducted needs assessments throughout Prince Georges County to determine the services and programs that would be most beneficial to those living with autism in our community. Participants in these assessments numbered greater than 150. Concurrent to these events, we created a remarkable board of directors and board committees; as well as, hired consultants to begin creating the strategic and budget plans necessary to make our vision a reality. We concluded 2008 with the launching of our newsletter "The Center Connector" and the awarding of our official 501c3 non-profit status from the Federal Government, which enables us to solicit the funding necessary to support our vision.
In 2009, we finalized the services that were deemed most critical to families and care providers of the greater than 1,100 children and adolescents affected by autism in our county. With a cost of around 1 million to initiate all services simultaneously, we decided to develop and implement services along a 2-3 year timeline through the creation of community partnerships, grant solicitations, donations, and the recruitment of committed volunteers.
- Abila Tazanu-Legall
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