“Shake It Forward” to help Brooklyn Autism Center
April 8, 2015
In recent years, there has been a nationwide increase in the recognition and treatment of autism, with significant improvements made within education, most notably. Since 2007, the Brooklyn Autism Center has led the charge locally. A not-for-profit school for children with autism, the Center pairs each student with his or her own teacher, a 1:1 educational model that ensures every child gets the specialized attention they need. The curriculum for each student is also individualized. Currently there are 17 students and 18 teachers at the school, located on Willoughby Street.
“We have uniquely educated and made a difference in the lives of more than 100 families,” said Jana Levin, the BAC’s Executive Director. “We’ve trained more than 200 teachers and impacted over 200 volunteers in our community.”
They’re looking to expand impact and raise even more awareness throughout the month of April, which is Autism Awareness Month, through a special partnership with Shake Shack. The local restaurant created a special Blueberry Streusel shake, where two dollars from the sale of every one will be donated to the Brooklyn Autism Center. The promotion is running at all three Brooklyn Shake Shack locations: in Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, and on Flatbush Avenue, across from the Barclays Center.
“Shake Shack is an incredible organization that truly cares about their community,” Levin said. She reached out to the fast food chain due to the school’s proximity to the Downtown Brooklyn location, and the affinity amongst the Center’s staff for Shake Shack’s burgers, fries, and shakes.
“They came up with the idea of doing a special shake for autism,” she said. “We suggested something blue, to signify the universal color for autism.”
The proceeds will support initiatives like BAC Friends, a peer socialization program; a board certified behavior analyst supervision program; and an iPad-enhanced instruction program that uses the technology to provide “language-based, academic programs for each student based on his or her individualized goals,” according to BAC’s website.
Though the Brooklyn Autism Center partners with many local organizations for fundraising and community-building purposes, this is the biggest promotion they’ve done yet.
“We are so proud to have put together this autism awareness initiative with them,” she said. “They are wonderful people, from the corporate office to the local store managers.”