Legislators, business and medical professionals, friends and donors gathered for ‘Carrots & Cocktails’ on June 22 to celebrate Urban Autism Solutions’ 10-year anniversary. The event was held at UAS' 1.2-acre Growing Solutions Farm.
UAS welcomed 170 guests at its first in-person event since the pandemic. See more pictures of 'Carrots & Cocktails' here.
During the event, UAS executive director Heather M. Tarczan and UAS board member Warren Ribley presented its Legislators of the Year Award to IL Senate President, Don Harmon; IL State Senator, Tony Munoz; IL House Minority Leader, Jim Durkin; and IL State Representative, Lakesia Collins for their support and commitment to UAS.
Guests enjoyed live music, beverages provided by Apologue Liqueurs and Constellation Brands and appetizers from Brunch N Burgers, Pompei and Roots Pizza. Attendees purchased more than 450 raffle tickets for nine different groups of raffle prizes, including prizes from the Chicago Bears, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The on-site farm stand was open and stocked with farm-fresh produce harvested just moments before the event.
Students from West Side Chicago public high schools who participate in UAS programs guided guests through the farm. They pointed out the sensory garden, funded by NEXT for AUTISM and Windy City Lions Club, the cold house, the on-site farm stand and the more than 50 varieties of produce growing, including celery root, which is grown exclusively for local craft spirits company and longtime partner, Apologue Liqueurs.
The number of students UAS serves annually through the UAS Academy has more than tripled in the last four years. This fall, Urban Autism Solutions expects to provide services to approximately 90 West Side Chicago public high school students from five schools. UAS clinical services include speech-language and occupational therapy and social services. UAS also provides job readiness training, connection to jobs for work-ready students, and opportunities to explore the city on public transportation.
“Urban Autism Solutions continues to find new and innovative ways to reach young adults from West Side high school transition programs. We are innovators, we may not always get it right, but we keep trying, tweaking as needed to do what we need to help our young adults succeed as they transition into adulthood,” said Heather M. Tarczan, executive director. “Our guests loved seeing the young adults in their element, proudly showing off their hard work at the farm and demonstrating their communication skills for our guests.”