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GIVE LOCAL 757: Autism Society, Tidewater Virginia

The nonprofit helps to improve the lives of people impacted by autism in Hampton Roads through education, advocacy and support.

Businesses and schools are closed, and people are adjusting to a new routine and environment. It's a task that may be even more challenging for someone on the autism spectrum. 

Diego Zuniga, president of the board of directors of the Autism Society for Tidewater Virginia, said his organization is doing what it can to help members during the pandemic.

"We try to promote activities where people can be a community - can be together, can play together, learn together... In these circumstances, we cannot be together," Zuniga said. 

The nonprofit helps to improve the lives of people impacted by autism in Hampton Roads through education, advocacy and support.

RELATED: GIVE LOCAL 757: Hampton Roads Community Action Program

Zuniga said the group's top priority amid COVID-19 is addressing its community's concerns by sharing facts and resources. 

"We're trying to share with our families what to do to be safe, what kind of measures they can take to sort of find a different 'new normal,'" said Zuniga.

Beyond the crisis, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Chapter Operations Manager Nicole Miller said the nonprofit is working hard to virtually stay in touch with the autism community.

"We are online four to five days a week, offering an online support of some type - either through Facebook Live or through Zoom, or any way we can help," said Miller. 

The nonprofit is asking for donations to help families cover medical expenses related to autism, and to ease financial and emotional burdens during and after the pandemic. 

"We want to help families, especially during this time where their finances are squeezed," said Miller. "This is just our way of continuing to be a resource here for the past nearly 40 years."

For more information about the Autism Society, Tidewater Virginia, visit its website. You can also check out the organization on Facebook.

More than 200 other local nonprofits need your support as part of the Give Local 757 initiative to spark local philanthropy. By donating, you'll help them continue to help the community recover from local effects of the pandemic.

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