Princeton, NJ, December 11, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- “Light, airy, beautiful,” those are the words spoken when visitors walk the halls of Eden Autism Services brand new Education and Outreach Center located in the Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton, NJ. To celebrate the occasion more than 300 people gathered on December 8th to take part in Eden’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Almost four decades in the making, Eden’s dream of a model autism school and national headquarters was realized.
Always on the forefront of providing the highest quality of services to individuals with autism and their families, Eden has once again demonstrated its leadership in the field of autism services. In 1975, when statistics for autism were 1 in 10,000 children, Eden rented space in a church basement to provide educational services to 14 families with children with autism. Statistics now state that 1 in 110 children are affected by autism, and as the incidence of autism continues to rise, so do the programs and services offered by Eden. Today, Eden provides educational services for children 3-21; adult employment and residential programs, early intervention, supplemental therapy, consultations, evaluations and both in-person and online support and training for families and professionals.
“Today is a day to celebrate,” said Eden Autism Services President and CEO, Dr. Tom McCool. “Our children, adults, families and staff have waited a long time for this day and I thank all of those who took part in making it happen.”
Carol Markowitz, Eden’s Chief Operating Officer and staff member since Eden’s founding in 1975 stated, “The building is beautiful and we are thrilled to be here, but the best part are the smiles on the faces of our students and staff.”
Eden’s new autism school was designed by Eden staff utilizing three decades of knowledge and best practices in teaching individuals with autism. The new facility includes a model convenience store and office training room to foster job preparation skills, a kitchen for use with Eden’s enhanced lunch preparation program, a gymnasium and exercise room, and 37 individual therapy rooms. Also, serving as Eden’s headquarters, the new building includes Eden’s Outreach program including Wawa House, one of the nation’s first early intervention programs which was funded by Wawa Inc. Teachers, professionals, and families are invited to visit, learn, and acquire training in Eden’s practices and curriculum, which are proven to effectively serve individuals with autism. Services will also include virtual classroom training and long-distance outreach support. The building also houses Eden’s administrative offices.
The dream for a new school began in 1975, but the plan for action started 6 years ago, when McCool was appointed president &CEO of Eden. Through a partnership with Princeton University, and the formation of a dedicated facilities committee comprised of Eden parents and community members, Eden began the journey to build its dream school. The project was funded in tax-exempt private activity bonds and a portion of the money raised from Eden’s capital campaign Nurturing Today, Embracing Tomorrow. In 2009, Eden embarked upon its first major capital campaign with a goal to raise $7 million. $4 million of the campaign is designated to support the new school and $3 million to strengthen Eden’s endowment with a focus on adult services, a growing and overlooked population in the autism community. With the generous support of Eden parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, staff, private and family foundations, as well as corporations, Eden’s Chief Development Officer Melinda McAleer, is happy to report that the campaign has reached $5 million.
Founded in 1975, Eden Autism Services is a center of excellence and one of the nation’s primary resources for autism education, information, training and support. Services include early intervention, education, employment training and residential services for children and adults with autism. Eden offers both in-person and online support and training programs for families and professionals. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, Eden's services extend throughout the United States with operations in Southwest Florida. For more information about Eden visit www.edenautism.org or call (609) 987-0099. Follow Eden on Facebook and Twitter.