With 500 guests in attendance, Special Needs Network successfully raised $350,000 to help build a specialized medical clinic that will serve South LA children with autism and other developmental disorders.

Areva Martin (L), SNN co-founder, with LA Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Google’s Debbie Newhouse during the 2015 Evening Under the Stars Awards Show and Gala at Sony Pictures. Newhouse is co-founder of Google’s in-house employee-based special needs network and accepted Google’s award during last week’s event.

Los Angeles, CA (10/8/15)— During its milestone 10th Annual Evening Under the Stars Awards Show and Gala, sponsored by Toyota, Sony Pictures, and CBS/KCAL, Special Needs Network (SNN) entertained 500 guests including celebrities, elected officials, distinguished community leaders and parents of special needs children. The event spotlighted SNN’s 10-year anniversary and focused on raising awareness and support for the South LA-based nonprofit’s specialized autism medical clinic set to open on the campus of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital next year.

The exclusive star-studded event was held on Oct. 3 at the Sony Studios Lot in Culver City, Calif., and emceed by Southern California’s NBC4 reporter, Beverly White. The anniversary celebration raised $350,000 to help fund the autism medical clinic and health programs provided by SNN. The new clinic will provide access to quality medical and developmental specialists to children with a range of disabilities.

The evening also honored LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Google for their contributions to health, wellness, and the advancement of the special needs community. Google.org has invested $20 million in grants for nonprofits through their “What If?” campaign to inspire the development of technology that can better serve those with disabilities. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, regarded as one of California’s most powerful elected officials, engineered the reopening of Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital and is leading the charge to expand the hospital’s campus and to facilitate the opening of the autism clinic.

Areva Martin (R), Special Needs Network co-founder with NBC4 reporter, Beverly White at the 2015 Evening Under the Stars Awards Show and Gala at Sony Pictures.

Since its inception, SNN has worked with more than 40,000 children and families and is known as California’s premier resource organization for autism advocacy and serving under-served populations, particularly African American and Latino communities.

“Evening Under the Stars is our pinnacle event,” explains Areva Martin, Esq., president and co-founder of Special Needs Network. “The event provides us with an opportunity to raise awareness of autism and related disorders and to raise much-needed funding for the clinic and our health programs.”

“This year’s celebration was especially meaningful as we celebrated the past decade and our collective work to end the disparities in diagnosis and treatment of autism in African American and Latino children.”

In collaboration with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, the community health center will provide a medical home for children by offering much-needed comprehensive developmental and emotional assessments, routine medical checkups and care, and a variety of therapies for free or low cost. The clinic will also offer a range of social services including family counseling, wellness classes, and advocacy training.

To learn more about SNN, and its programs and to get more information about Evening Under the Stars, visit snnla.org or call (323) 291-7100. SNN invites anyone with questions or concerns about autism and other developmental disabilities to contact their office for information on available resources, programs, and service providers.

Special Needs Network (SNN) is based in Los Angeles and is California’s leading grassroots autism advocacy organization. As a nonprofit organization, SNN was established to help families faced with autism and other developmental disabilities. The organization focuses on raising public awareness, impacting public policy, increasing education and access to resources for families, children, and adults.

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