Student Raises Money for Austism Speaks

When someone you love needs help, you don’t think about the cost of helping…you jump in with both feet to see what you can do.

This is exactly what Alfred State College student Jenny Brongo, Rochester, Construction Management Engineering Technology major, and her family do every year to raise money for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Brongo’s brother Chucky was diagnosed with the disorder when he was two years old.  Now 18, he attends Easter Seals NH Autism Clinic, which provides multidisciplinary assessments for children of all ages who are suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Services are packaged and tailored to meet the unique needs of each client, including Screening and Comprehensive evaluation.

Why so far from home? His home school district was unprepared to educate a young person with his symptoms.

“He’s been gone for more than two years;” notes Brongo; “he left for school the same year I left for Alfred State College (2007). Because we are only 18 months apart in age, I was devastated when he left.

“Because he’s my best friend, I want to help in any way I can.  This year, I brought my cause to Alfred State,” said Brongo, who planned a car wash Sept. 9, which raised $300, with the help of sorority Delta Chi Omega and fraternity Kappa Sigma Epsilon, the sponsoring organizations.

“Many people donated $5 for the wash and extra for vacuuming. Many generous donations came from people just walking by! People gave me 20 dollar bills, saying ‘Keep the Change’!”

Brongo asked her RA (resident assistant) Mary Johnson, who is also her roommate, to help her go door-to-door on campus asking faculty and students for donations. Requesting, "Give me YOUR 2 cents on Autism," Brongo found Alfred State College faculty and staff to be very generous and even could relate to her, having known, at one time or other, a person with autism.

This year’s donations all benefited Autism Speaks at Rochester's Walk Now for Autism 2009 at Monroe Community College on Sept. 12.

“Every year ‘Chucky’s Team’ sets a goal of $500; this year we think we might have raised over $1,000!”

“I am so grateful for the donations, the help and support in addition to the kind words of encouragement,” says Brongo.

If you would like to know more or if you would like to donate to Chucky’s Team, go to: http://www.walknowforautism.org/rochester.