Each year at HDS Companies, we recognize April as National Autism Awareness Month by supporting the Autism Community throughout the State of Florida. This year during the month we supported several very worthy causes and initiatives by the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Commissioners, Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue, UM-NSU CARD’s Tropical Nights, and the Division on Career Development and Transition of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Visions Conference. 

As National Autism Awareness Month comes to a close, we joined The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) in support of their Pedal for Autism Fun Ride, and the 2nd Annual DMF Autism Awareness Block Party, brought to you by HDS Companies. The event brought together over one hundred cyclists with the message of Autism Awareness and Inclusion, as well as community resources that provide services for individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Organizations and companies such as the Autism Society of Broward County, UM-NSU CARD, Broward County Libraries, CARD, Artists with Autism, Walgreens, Big 1059, and Made in Broward hosted booths at the resource fair. During the event, City of Fort Lauderdale District 2 Commissioner, Steve Glassman presented Mary Partin, CEO at DMF with a Proclamation recognizing National Autism Awareness Month. Marino Campus Students and Alumni had a great time interacting with each other, and event participants during the celebration. 

The Dan Marino Foundation’s mission of “Empowering individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, aligns with the HDS Foundation’s mission, “To provide mentoring services and opportunities to Teens and Young Adults who have Autism-related disabilities.” The Dan Marino Foundation, a non-profit  organization was established by Miami Dolphins Alumni Quarterback, Dan Marino and his wife Claire, who were motivated by their experiences in raising their son, Michael, who is diagnosed with autism. For over 27 years, the Foundation has been a leader in innovation and changeThe DMF has raised more than $75 million to create unique and impactful initiatives in the community. Among these first-of-their-kind initiatives are the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center, the Marino Autism Research Institute, Marino Adapted Aquatics, Summer STEPS Employment Programs, Virtual Interactive Training Agent Program (ViTA-DMF), and now post-secondary programs at both Marino Campus in Broward and at FIU in Miami-Dade.  

HDS Companies has been a supporter of The Dan Marino Foundation for over ten years. Like the Marino Familyour Founder and CEO, Cristina Miranda Gilson, was motivated to give back to the Autism Community by her experiences raising her daughter Kate who is on the Autism Spectrum. Inspired by Kate’s journey, Cristina and her daughter Meagan founded the HDS Foundation. We are committed to supporting organizations who are working to mentor, teach and support, thereby enriching the lives of individuals with ASD. HDS Companies didn’t just sponsor the DMF Autism Awareness Block Party, Cristina Miranda Gilson together with our HDS Foundation Board Directors, Meagan Bouscher, Kate Gilson Miranda, Paloma Miranda, and Elena Mirandajoined our workforce volunteer group, the HDS Contenders and our HDS ASDY-Tech Team who we employ and are graduates of the DMF MOS Certificate Program and together, we volunteered at Game, Art, and Resource stations throughout the day. Supporting community events such as the DMF Block Party and the Pedal for Autism FUN Rideinitiative helps create opportunities for young adults on the Autism Spectrum. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with DMF to bring greater awareness and support to the South Florida ASD community.