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I got an email a few days ago from a young man named Collin Cook that really touched me.

“My name is Collin Cook. I’m a senior in high school at Piper High School in Kansas City, Kansas. At our school we are required to do a senior project, and for mine I decided to host a men’s adult basketball tournament to support autism called Assists For Autism. I raised $1,205.00 and would like to donate all of it to the National Autism Association.”

For his senior project, Collin had to choose between an occupation he could see himself going into in the future, or a charitable event.  Having never organized a charitable event, Collin chose to coordinate this tournament to prove to himself that he could “make a difference in someone’s life somehow.”  Collin’s cousin has autism and he wanted to do something meaningful for him and for others who are affected.

The tournament was held in mid-April.  Collin raised money by charging an entrance fee of $150 per team, selling Powerade and water, and setting up a donation jar on site – the Piper High School Gymnasium.  He was also able to find several referees that were willing to donate their time for the cause.  Nine teams signed up and played over the weekend – a total of about 100 players!

From all of us at NAA and the families we serve – THANK YOU, COLLIN!  You are an amazing young man and an inspiration to others that each of us can make a real difference for those who need us!