William and Helen Thomas Charitable Trust Awards Funding to Helping People Succeed
Thanks to the William and Helen Thomas Charitable Trust, Helping People Succeed has received a $5,000 donation to be used as seed money for the beginning of a new “transition” program for young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Helping People Succeed kicked off its after-school programs for students with autism spectrum disorder more than two years ago. The classes first concentrated on middle school students and in the last two years, elementary and high school students have been added to the program. In addition, Helping People Succeed is developing an autism center on Florida Street between Old Dixie Highway and Johnson Avenue, where autism classes, counseling for parents and families, Music & Movement, yoga therapy and art therapy are coordinated.
The transition program will focus on young adults (ages 17 – 21) who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and who want to live and work independently.
The William and Helen Thomas Charitable Trust honors a long-time philanthropic couple by supporting non-profit organizations that provide services in education, the environment, medical needs, the underprivileged and other charitable purposes. This is the trust fund’s second donation to Helping People Succeed, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in March 2014.
“Knowing Bill and Helen personally, it is with gratitude that Helping People Succeed accepts this gift,” said Glenna Parris, Gift Planning Officer. “They would have been proud of the fact that their legacy continues to live on and makes a difference in the thousands of lives who have been touched by the trust’s generosity.”
The William and Helen Thomas Charitable Trust was created to maintain William and Helen Thomas’s commitment to philanthropy and to giving back to the community. Prior to his death in 2001, William Thomas was a salesman for ARCO Company and served as Board Chairman of Enabling Technologies. William Thomas was also a proponent of providing services for the blind. Helen Thomas worked as a nurse and was a staunch supporter of medical education.
Helping People Succeed serves more than 4,500 families in Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River counties. The organization offers a variety of programs and services from Baby Steps, Healthy Families and Music & Movement classes to Employment Options for adults with disabilities, Community Connections and Behavioral Health Systems, the department of the local autism program.