Fund-raiser raises awareness for kids with disabilities |

Fund-raiser raises awareness for kids with disabilities

Money raised from silent auction can be used to offset families' unexpected medical costs

— Local artists are putting their work on display to benefit children in the community.

“A Work of H’art” will fill the lobby of Alpine Bank with about 30 pieces of original art beginning Sunday.

Anyone can bid on the selection of mixed media until March 21.

Half of the proceeds will go toward two local nonprofit organizations that help families of children diagnosed with social and emotional disabilities.

The artists will take home the other 50 percent of the profits.

Autism and Aspergers Awareness of Steamboat teamed up with Horizons to hold the fund-raiser.

Horizons is putting its share of the proceeds toward its family support program.

The program helps families of children with developmental disabilities pay for medical expenses not covered by health insurance.

Susan Mizen of Horizons said such expenses might include trips to Denver or Grand Junction for treatment not available in Steamboat Springs, speech, occupational and equine therapy visits, or the purchase of adaptive equipment.

Mizen described the program as a last resort families turn to for help with unexpected medical costs.

All the money Horizons gets from the silent auction goes directly to an eligible family, she said.

Autism and Aspergers Awareness of Steamboat is spearheading a grass-roots effort to increase the level of local services offered to families of children affected by autism and similar neurological disorders.

The group will use proceeds from the fund-raiser to help build a network of local resources that kick in when children are diagnosed with social and emotional disabilities.

Steamboat Mental Health Center, Routt County Human Services, Horizons, the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), schools and the medical community are all partners in the envisioned web of services offered locally so parents and children do not have to travel beyond the Yampa Valley for treatment and therapy.

The benefit coincides with a free presentation by an autism expert.

B.J. Freeman, a medical psychologist who runs the UCLA Autism Diagnostic Clinic, will speak with local physicians about diagnosing autism spectrum disorders March 20 and hold a free public seminar at 6:30 p.m. that day at the hospital.

A wine and hors d’oeuvres party is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. March 21 at Alpine Bank to finalize final bidding on the artwork.

The Steamboat Mixed Media Painting School organized the artists whose pieces appear in “A Work of “H’art.”

Susie Holloran, who helped coordinate the event, said sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings are some of the featured pieces.

Horizons client Joe Arnold is one of the showcased artists, Mizen said.

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