West Virginia Autism Training Center set for Saturday night fundraiser

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Autism Training Center, located at Marshall University, will host a virtual fundraising event Saturday night in hopes to raise money for a special cause.

The second annual virtual event, titled “Stories from the Spectrum: Building for the Future,” is scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. and funds raised will help expand the College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Marshall University.

Dr. Marc Ellison, executive director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center (WVATC) said the program supports 60 students per semester. He said they have the capacity to support double that number of students with autism but they do not have the space.

Marc Ellison

“For thirty-plus years, we have carried out services all over the state. We are doing a lot of good work and I hope people will tune in to hear that good work. Also support us too, we really appreciate and value your support,” Ellison said.

The WVATC has been located at the top of Old Main at Marshall since 1984, Ellison said, with only five offices being used. Ellison said estimates of a building renovation for the center are around $5 million. He hopes to raise the money over several years.

The event features inspiring stories, unique auction items and special guest appearances. Items include a Mike Tyson signed boxing glove, Pete Rose signed baseball, a soccer ball signed by the Marshall men’s national championship soccer team, and racing tickets to Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Dr. Ruth Sullivan Autism Champion Award will be presented to Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill to honor her career dedicated to supporting those diagnosed with autism and their families. Becker-Cottrill is the former executive director of the center and Ellison said through a 25-year period she transformed education and direct services for families with autism.

Those interested in attending the virtual event can register and/or donate at this link: https://e.givesmart.com/events/nL6/

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