BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — In 20201 in 54 children were diagnosed with autism and on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Memorial Baptist Church in Beckley people came together to raise awareness. 

April is Autism Awareness Month and the Beckley community gathered together on the last day of the month to raise awareness in their annual Volleyball 4 Autism event put on by the social service program at New River CTC. The goal is to raise awareness but also raise and money for the Un-Prescription Foundation for Autism which help families explore natural options when it comes to treating problems linked to autism. 

“At the school we believe heavily in this and that all families should have the opportunity for their child or young adult to have what they need to do better,” said Dr. Kelli White, Assistant Professor of Social Services at New River CTC.

For Dr. White, the event hits close to home because she has a daughter with autism. She said she wants everyone to have the resources and opportunities she has had with her daughter.

“I am able to afford these protocols but a lot of other people aren’t and I want to level that playing field,” said White.

Volleyball 4 Autism brought people from all over the community together. Jimmy McGhee has been a ref for these games for the last 10 years and said he does it because it is a great cause.

“I do it because its a fundraiser for a good cause. I enjoy it, the people are nice. I like to see them raise money and this is a good way to do it for autism,” McGhee said.

Serrell Garee and Melissa Wolfe the President and Vice President of the Browning Social Services Club said they hope events like these make people more accepting of others.

“I think this world needs more of accepting people for who we are. Honoring each others unique qualities and differences. It takes all find of people to make the world go round,” said Garee.