Nassau, Bahamas: Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Limited along with the community donated to R.E.A.C.H. in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. Fidelity R.E.A.C.H. (Resources and Education for Autism and Related Challenges) was founded in 1998 as a voluntary support and advocacy group for persons and their families who are challenged by autism or related disorders. The lifelong, complex, neurobiological disorder is characterised by varying degrees of communication, socialisation and behaviour impairments. While the statistics for The Bahamas is unknown, Autism is considered the fastest growing developmental disability in the country.
Autism Awareness Month occurs every April worldwide. During that time, organizations like R.E.A.C.H. hosts a number of fundraising events to assist in its annual efforts. To assist in this fundraising exercise, Fidelity Bank made R.E.A.C.H. its Charity of the Quarter for the months January – March 2017, where the community was encouraged to donate to the organization at any of its branches in Nassau. Fidelity then matched the donations dollar for dollar.
Marcia Newball, R.E.A.C.H.’s Executive Director, says its main objective is to “provide parents with comprehensive knowledge and tools in all areas of this neurobiological disorder”. Among the challenges faced by the organization is the lack of services afforded to persons with autism, including early diagnosis, speech & occupational therapy, finding appropriate education, vocational training, job opportunities, respite care, and sheltered living facilities.
“Parents of Autistic children are often wandering in the dark, uncertain of what they need to do to ensure the best scenario for their children. Sadly, there are not enough public services for children with Autism and other related disabilities. R.E.A.C.H. has worked very hard over the years to fill that gap” said Mrs. Newball.
Ms. Tangela N. Albury, Fidelity Bank’s Chief of Compliance & Control Officer and Donations Committee Chair lauded R.E.A.C.H. for its role in the education of parents, teachers and other stakeholders as well as in the formation of public policy. “The way persons with disabilities are treated is changing, due largely to the efforts of organizations like R.E.A.C.H. We’ve seen persons with Autism now able to contribute positively to the community and even the workplace. The community needs organizations like R.E.A.C.H. to act as advocates for persons who may be otherwise disadvantaged. Fidelity Bank is very pleased to partner with the community to assist in this regard.”
For more information on R.E.A.C.H. or to donate to the organization, call 328-4123 or 698-7744.