Young Leader with a Mission
Tyler Young, a seventh-grade student at St. Joseph the Worker School, is on a mission to assist the fundraising efforts of the Autism Resource Community Hub of Lehigh Valley (ARCH of LV).
Since 2007, Tyler has helped organize teams for the Lehigh Valley Walk Now for Autism Speaks. After the 2011 Walk, the ARCH of LV asked Tyler to lead its team on the Lehigh Parkway at this year’s event, which was held on Saturday, April 21. Tyler was connected with ARCH of LV through his younger brother, Nicholas, who was previously enrolled in services at the center.
ARCH of Lehigh Valley, an Elwyn Children’s Behavioral Health program, is a community center that provides comprehensive services to individuals and families touched by autism. With a professional staff trained in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the facility promotes and supports the success of each individual in a therapeutic learning environment. The center integrates clinical and non-clinical approaches and provides training to these individuals and their families.
In addition to his volunteerism with the Walk, Tyler joined the ARCH of LV's fundraising committee this past November as the Youth Chair of General Fundraising. A Domino’s Pizza Dough Night was his first big fundraising initiative as a member of the commitee. After many phone calls to area businesses, Tyler connected with the regional district manager of Domino’s who loved the idea of working with such an ambitious young man.
ARCH of LV Administrative Director Ellen Hunt said, “He’s not afraid to put himself out there and to make those phone calls. He has that attitude where all they can do is say ‘no’ or tell him to talk to someone else. It is an impressive talent to have for someone his age.”
One of the many benefits of Tyler’s efforts was a pizza party at the ARCH of LV hosted by Domino’s. At the party, the children were taught how to knead dough and toss it in the air. After the lesson, the group was treated with five large pizza pies, donated by Domino’s, for their afternoon snack.
For his second fundraising initiative, Tyler led an ARCH of LV lollipop fundraiser on April 1 outside a Lehigh Valley area Wal-Mart to celebrate World Autism Day. To schedule the fundraiser, Tyler contacted nearly 30 different stores and restaurants to find a location to serve as a host.
“I spent a whole weekend literally picking up the phone and calling restaurants and stores,” Tyler said. “They (Wal-Mart) were one of the places I called and they gave me the information. I just decided to go.”
For the event, Tyler created posters, ordered materials and set prices. He said the greatest challenge was finding volunteers to participate in the event, but his persistence paid off as he successfully recruited 13 volunteers and assisted ARCH of LV in raising $500.
With the funds raised, Tyler’s first goal is to purchase a color printer for the facility. A color printer would enable staff to create social stories, picture icons and daily routine schedules for the children and families served. These colorful images will provide visual means for learning and communication. Another goal for Tyler is to raise funds to bring awareness of the ARCH of LV facility through outdoor signage. The facility currently does not have a sign on the building’s property indicating the name or purpose of the center.
With two successful fundraising events under his belt, Tyler has plans for bigger fundraising projects. His long-term goals are to raise money for outdoor advertising on a local billboard and to organize a yearly carnival and open house with games and entertainment for the local community.
Mrs. Hunt says Tyler brings so much to the table. At just 13 years old, Mrs. Hunt said to run an operation like he does is impressive. He has the skills of a businessperson and the PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets to back up that claim.
“I’m fundraising to help ARCH provide more resources to the community,” Tyler said. “It’s my little part of helping their mission."