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Boca Raton News


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Autism Speaks Grant Makes Annual Festival More Accessible


Nation’s Largest Family Fun Day for People with Special Needs Scheduled for March 1, 2020

September 10, 2019, Boca Raton, FL – The American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., organizer and host of the Annual Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, was awarded a $3,500 grant from Autism Speaks, South Florida chapter, to make its 2020 event more accessible to those on the autism spectrum (ASD).
The 2020 Boating and Beach Bash (www.boatingbeachbash.com) will be held Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton. In 2019, the free, family-fun festival welcomed approximately 6,000 guests for its 11th year. 
With the Autism Speaks funding, the American Disabilities Foundation will add “Quiet Comfort/Break” zones to the festival site plan and provide “comfort supplies,” such as ear plugs, sensory toys and sunglasses to guests. The grant will also allow for the purchase of developmental play items and crafts for the Bash’s Kids Zone.
Additionally, the Foundation will add a part-time staff administrator, who will conduct volunteer training related to ASD and oversee coordination of program recruitment and surveys with nonprofits, parents groups and the medical community that serves ASD.
“We estimate that more than 40 percent of our festival guests and program participants are autistic or families of someone on the autism spectrum,” said American Disabilities Foundation President Jay Van Vechten. “We are looking forward to adding elements and giveaways that will allow our guests to better enjoy the festival.”
Bash guests on the autism spectrum are accommodated with all-inclusive programming, parking/shuttles throughout the park, food variety to meet special dietary needs, adaptive equipment, sunscreen, accessible- and family/caregiver-accessible restrooms, therapy animals, lifejackets, health resources, and beach access with adaptive swim professionals.
“Everything about the Boating and Beach Bash is designed with the special needs community in mind. It is why this event is so popular, so embraced and so well-received every year,” Van Vechten said. “With support from organizations like Autism Speaks, we are able to include more features for people who don’t normally get to experience a day on the beach, a boat ride on the Intracoastal or musical performances by artists who look and live like them.”
Presented annually by the American Disabilities Foundation, the Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is held each March in Spanish River Park in Boca Raton, FL. The unique park straddles the ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.  The festival brings together children, teens, adults, seniors and wounded warriors with every conceivable disability for an event unlike any other in the nation.  Everything at the Bash is FREE, including an all-day concert, a BBQ lunch, boat rides and dozens of attractions on the beach, in the park and on the water. For many guests it is their most anticipated outing of the year. Funding comes from national and local sponsors, along with community support.


The Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, the Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Pepsico, Coldwell Banker, TD Bank, Douglas Elliman Realty, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Office Depot Foundation, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Deerfield Beach and more than a dozen foundations, including title sponsor Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, Inc., The Schmidt Family Foundation, Inc., the E.M. Lynn Foundation, Inc., the Landegger Family Charitable Trust, the Listen Learn Care Foundation and numerous private donations.  For more information about the Bash, write: The American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., PO Box 99, Boca Raton, FL 33429 or call 561.715.2622. Visit us at www.boatingbeachbash.com, or follow the Bash on Facebook at Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities. To donate to the American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., write to the ADF, PO Box 99, Boca Raton 33429. Donations can also be made via PayPal on the Bash website.

 Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities
Sponsored by: The American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3)
P.O. BOX 99, BOCA RATON, FL  33429
For further information contact:
Jay Van Vechten: 561.715-2622
Or write us at info@boatingbeachbash.com