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April 24, 2012 - Firefly Autism Presents 'Laugh Yourself Blue'

What: Fundraiser for Firefly Autism and recognition of National Autism Awareness Month

Where: Mile High Station

When: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time: 6 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $150; VIP $200

EMCEE: Eric Goodman, Mile High Sports Radio

Gala Chairperson(s): Gary Moore

Executive Director: Interim: Scott Smith

Committee Members: Chair: Gary Moore; Christina Calkins, Lisa Duke, Missy de Koning, Steve Shaffer, Todd & Diane Raba, Karen Reidy, Kimberly Roy, Jane Soderberg, the Honorable Ken Salazar and Hope Hernandez Salazar

Staff: T. Scott Smith, Interim Executive Director; Jennifer Johnson, Director of Development and Marketing; Carrie Scott, Clinical Director; Kecia Adams-Wright, Outreach Director; Diane Osaki, Early Start Denver Model Director; Mark Rapp, Financial Controller; Shelley Kraus, Office Manager; Mary Korch, Finance Mgr.; Lisa Lujan, Executive Asst./Development Associate; Rachel Judd, Administrative Intern

Libations: ONEHOPE Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay

Catering: Occasions by Sandy

Music: Steve Posey

Sponsors: Holland & Hart, Kaiser Permanente, Jeppesen, 1stBank, Xcel Energy, Clear Channel, Harper Lutz Zuber Hofer & Associates, Sarah David, Gary Moore & Jane Costain

Menu: Almond brittle salad, artisan bread basket, roasted Tuscan chicken, Risotto with mushroom Marsala sauce, sauteed green beans, chocolate truffles

Attire: Business casual

Special Thanks: Blazen Illuminations, Josh Blue, Eric Goodman, Irxd, Occasions Catering, ONEHOPE Wine, MillerCoors, Steve Posey, Kimberly Roy, Steve Shaffer

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Tenderloin bites, margarita tuna crisps, petite camembert en croute, chicken Saltimbocca skewer, scallop Rumaki

Board of Directors: President: Diane Raba; Vice President: Maura Spangler; J Allen Fears; John Griffith; Steven Gutierrez; Alexis Kearns; Michele Matyasovsky; Gary Moore (President-Elect); Perry Noble; Kimberly Roy; Steve Shaffer

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Hope Hernandez Salazar talks about her granddaughter
Hope Hernandez Salazar talks about her granddaughter

It's not really too much to ask--usually a mundane request, really--to expect your child to be "typical." But to the parents of an autistic child, "typical" can mean the world.

At Firefly Autism, services are provided that help families reach the goal of "typical" for their autistic child, and words like "smiles," "progress," "future" and "transformation" are every day occurences. This phenominal organization is able to provide the tools to autistic children so that their social skills and educational strides are improved immensely.

Supporters of Firefly Autism gathered at Mile High Station on Tuesday night to talk about these concepts and answer the question "how do we turn 'can't' into 'can?' " Emcee Eric Goodman of Mile High Sports radio explained his experiences after he visited Firefly Autism and put into perspective how the little things can matter so much to an autistic child. Hope Hernandez Salazar, wife of the Hon. Ken Salazar, was on hand to talk about their precious granddaughter Mireya, whom they discovered had autism when her progression seemed a little different than expected. Hope had trouble keeping back the tears as she proudly talked about Mereya and what a wonderful little girl she is.

Since April is Autism Month, and blue is the autism color, it was natural to invite comedian Josh Blue to provide an entertaining crescendo to the evening. It was a wonderful event that was anything but "typical."

Firefly Autism began as the Aspen Center for Autism in 2003 in response to the exhausting search that Colorado parents were performing to try to find services for their autistic children within a patchwork of providers. The Center finally provided a central place for academic, physical, speech, occupational therapy and behavioral learning and training. The effort was spearheaded by Early Start Denver Model Director Diane Osaki.

The house for a time was named Alta Vista Center for Autism and has morphed into Firefly Autism and has served more than 435 children. Parents now have the option to access learning programs, therapy, respite and consultation in one holistic environment. Incredible strides have been made-- children in the Foundations of Learning program have been proven to learn five times as fast as when they first arrived. Less jostling around looking for programs and assistance leads to a better and less stressful quality of life for the kids and their families. For more information, log on to

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