PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — It has been about four months since the 14th April Nicole’s Annual Ride for Autism, and Friday, a yearlong effort paid off for the non-profit, which helps raise funds for those with autism and those who help care for them.
This year’s ride, which was started by Steve Grant after seeing the struggles his niece April Nicole goes through with autism, raised enough funds to be able to donate more than $5,000 worth of supplies to West Pensacola Elementary school. The school is a hub for those with autism and other special needs in Escambia County. It has more than 100 students with autism.
Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teachers at the school Friday were presented boxes of supplies by Grant and other members of the April Nicole Annual Ride for Autism group. Many jump for joy as they opened boxes.
The supplies included new iPads, medical grade gloves for those teachers who have to change their students diapers, sensory tools, laminate and other items.
The teachers were more than grateful for the supplies because often, due to a lack of funding, they have to reach into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classrooms.
Tanya Walker, a kindergarten autism spectrum disorder teacher at West Pensacola Elementary, said this week alone she has spent $66 of her own money to buy reinforcer edibles, which are snack items like skittles, M&M’s or even Goldfish crackers given to students whey complete a task.
Walker told News 5 every student will be able to benefit from the non-profits donations.
“The donation today will be able to meet those specialize needs, like sensory needs, academic needs, and those social and emotional needs that our kids have and are very specific and are very much a part of who they are and make them who they are,” Walker said.
Grant told News 5 that it warms his heart to see the teachers receive the supplies with smiles on their faces.
“These teachers act like they got a present at Christmas,” he said. “It’s like it’s something they’ve been wanting all year long. It’s very humbling.”
You can donate or find out more information about the biker ride charity at April Nicole’s Annual Autism Ride’s Facebook page. The ride calls on hundreds of bikers to participate. Funds are raised through a ride fee, a raffle, donations and other venues.
The escorted ride happens the first weekend of April every year and goes from Ollie’s in Milton to the Moose Lodge in Pensacola.