MELBOURNE, FLA. — More than 200 people attended “An Evening of Hope” April 3 to benefit the Scott Center for Autism Treatment, currently under construction
at Florida Institute of Technology. The center is expected to open this fall.
The event, sponsored by ticket sales, corporate contributions and in-kind donations, was at the oceanfront home of honorary event chairpersons, Rachel
Fornes and Al Neuharth, founder of Florida Today and USA Today newspapers. Tom and Polly Molnar were event chairs. Creative Catering by the Farinas
provided a buffet. Link Johnsten of Eau Gallie Florist created the colorful floral arrangements. Beverages were donated by Florida Beer and Vintage
A live auction, directed by former Florida Today Publisher Mike Coleman, helped drive the fundraising to $123,500 — more than the $30,000 anticipated. All
event proceeds will benefit individuals, families and research at the Scott Center for Autism Treatment.
“This fundraiser provided an opportunity for the community to recognize the importance of early, intensive behavioral intervention in the treatment of
autism. In addition, the event emphasized the need for qualified, credentialed personnel to deliver this research-validated service,” said Fran Warkomski,
executive director of the center.
Derek Gores, a local mixed media artist, donated two original pieces to the auction, which brought in $11,000. Gores recently gained national attention
after two of his works commemorating the recent presidential election of Barack Obama were selected to be in Washington art galleries during inaugural
“It was such a pleasure to participate and help raise awareness for the Scott Center,” Gores said. His original collage of a boy blowing bubbles was
purchased by the Moreno family and donated back to the university to be displayed in the center’s reception area.
“The event was a resounding success and underscored the increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders — estimated to affect one in every 150 children.
Florida Tech reiterated its serious commitment to the research, training and treatment expected by Brevard residents,” said Mary Beth Kenkel, dean of
Florida Tech’s College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. The college will oversee all center clinical, research and administrative operations.
The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to providing treatment, training and applied research to enhance the
functioning and improve the quality of the lives of children with autism and related disabilities. To make a donation, or for more information, call (321)
674-8104 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.