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January 18, 2023

Christmas Extravaganza Raises Nearly $92,000 for Children’s Autism Services

Christmas extravaganza with speakers podium, video screen and guests seated at dinner tables

The Arc of the Ozarks was honored to host so many wonderful friends and supporters at the 28th Annual Christmas Extravaganza Gala. 

Festivities took place at the White River Conference Center on December 9, 2022. Thanks to the generous support of our community, we raised nearly $92,000 for The Arc’s children’s autism services, which include Rivendale Institute of Learning and Center for Autism, TheraCare, Mercy Branson Autism Clinic, and our newly announced Springfield Autism Center.

How Autism Impacts Our Community

Autism stats graphic

Did you know that only 41 percent of Missouri children on the autism spectrum had a comprehensive developmental evaluation by age 3? 

The Arc of the Ozarks autism services align with best practice standards and include a multi-disciplinary approach to diagnostics and therapies. We provide early-intervention therapies and strategies designed to assist the child and their family to excel at home and at school.

We are truly grateful to be able to expand access to autism services for families in Southwest Missouri. 

A Special Night Enjoyed by All

Table with silent auction items

Throughout the night of our Extravaganza, guests enjoyed the musical stylings of Kit Barley and the Creekside Bandits, which included throwback tunes from the 70s to today’s hits. While listening to the band, guests browsed our vast silent auction with over 140 items to choose from. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we raised nearly $20,000 from our silent and live auctions. We are so grateful to all business owners who donated items to make our auction the most successful it has ever been. 

Once dinner began, guests learned more about children’s autism services at The Arc courtesy of Ozarks Live host and emcee Cami Jenkins, along with videos highlighting our autism programs. Our client spotlight featured Mark, who is served by our CounterPoint program, teaching Cami the ins and outs of his candle-making business. 

The Arc CEO Powers Accepts Congressional Resolution from Former Congressman Long

We were honored to have the company of Missouri State Representatives Alex Riley and Melanie Stinnett, Missouri Senator Mike Moon, and Former U.S. Congressman Billy Long. To the surprise of our President/CEO Mike Powers, Former Congressman Long presented Mr. Powers with a Congressional Resolution for his outstanding work and commitment to the disability community in Southwest Missouri. 

Announcing a New Autism Clinic

During the Extravaganza, we were also thrilled to unveil the rendering of our newest autism clinic in Springfield Missouri, set to open Summer 2023. 

This collaboration between The Arc of the Ozarks, Missouri State University, and Mercy will increase access for families and children who experience developmental delays. The clinic will provide diagnostic evaluations, behavioral analysis, and psychological/psychiatric services, along with speech, occupational, physical, and specialty therapy services. The new autism clinic will work with families regardless of their ability to pay and will accept referrals from all network providers.

“We all know the importance of early diagnosis and intervention of individuals suspected of having autism,” says Mike Powers, President/CEO of The Arc. “We are incredibly excited about bringing innovative services to Southwest Missouri to support these individuals and their families.”

Live Auction Goes to the Dog (Literally!)

Live auction winner Reva with 12 week old goldendoodle puppy

While the excitement was high, we moved into the last portion of the evening: our live auction. 

This year’s live auction featured twelve items, including a deep freezer with a 150-pound beef bundle, an Australian Boulder Opal necklace, and a 0.35 carat Princess-cut diamond. However, we saved the best for last: a 12-week-old Standard Goldendoodle puppy. The winner, Reva McVay was beyond thrilled to take her brand-new furry friend home for Christmas.

We would like to extend a special thank you to our underwriting sponsor Alps Pharmacy, our presenting sponsor Central Bank of the Ozarks, and personal sponsor the Darr Family for their continued support of The Arc of the Ozarks. 

Don’t miss Christmas Extravaganza 2023! Mark your calendars for December 8, 2023.