April 01, 2010 // Franchising.com // Tempe, AZ - On April 22, 2010, thousands of children and families across America will be bouncing, sliding and jumping to raise funds for autism and celebrate National Autism Awareness Month.
Pump It Up, the nation's largest franchise of indoor, inflatable playgrounds, is launching its annual fundraising efforts on behalf of the Autism Society throughout the month of April. The efforts will culminate on April 22 when more than 150 participating Pump It Up franchises across the country will host 'Bounce for Autism' events. For a suggested donation to the Autism Society, families will enjoy open play time on the giant, inflatable structures that stand nearly two stories high.
Pump It Up first partnered with the Autism Society in 2007 after many of the indoor, inflatable playgrounds across the country began to notice a trend of families with autistic children and sponsoring organizations seeking out the sensory environment as a unique place for their children to play in a safe, private, and non-threatening manner. Last year, the Pump It Up franchise system raised more than $70,000 on behalf of the Autism Society; this year Pump It Up executives project to raise at least $150,000 for the cause.
"For children with autism who struggle with sensory issues, the environment at Pump It Up encourages them to run, jump, laugh and play in an environment they feel comfortable in," said Lee Knowlton, President and CEO of Pump It Up. "It is only fitting that we also do our part to raise funds for the leading organization that assists these families on a day-to-day basis, and we're looking forward to inspire the communities we serve to support this worthy cause as well."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism (up from one in every 150 in 2007) and one in every 70 boys is affected. The Autism Society estimates that approximately 1.5 million Americans have an autism spectrum disorder, and according to the US Department of Education, it is growing at a rate of 10 - 17 percent per year.
"We're thrilled to partner with Pump It Up to improve the many lives affected by autism in a venue that guarantees fun," said Lee Grossman, President and CEO of the Autism Society. "In the three years of our partnership, Pump It Up locations have become community hubs where families impacted by autism can come together in a fun, safe and social environment. Let's get bouncing!"
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that typically appears during the first two years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.
In addition to hosting Bounce for Autism fundraising events during the month of April, Pump It Up franchise locations across the country host Sensory Nights throughout the year when the facilities are reserved exclusively for children with autism and their families. The sensory environment at Pump it Up encourages people with autism of all ages to run, jump, laugh and play in an environment where they feel comfortable and accepted -- a rare experience for a child with autism and special needs.
A clear leader in the active children's party industry, Pump It Up is the nation's largest franchise of indoor inflatable playgrounds specializing in private parties for birthdays, and other programs like corporate events, school outings, field trips and other events. Trained staff provides guests with supervision, food and beverage set-up, and clean-up services. Pump It Up is headquartered in Tempe, AZ with more than 160 locations across the country.
The Autism Society is the nation's leading grassroots autism organization and was founded by parents in 1965. The organization's mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.