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The McDonald Family

SARRC’s vision to become a statewide organization helping children and adults on the autism spectrum just received a boost from the McDonald family.

Jeremy, Sara and their daughters Alivia and Emilia, have made a commitment as Multiyear Visionary Partners (MVPs) with that goal in mind as well as Alivia’s progress through SARRC. As MVPs, they have pledged annual donations over a five-year period.

In search of a good preschool in 2017, the McDonalds learned about SARRC’s Community School, open to children with and without autism, from Sara’s parents. At that time, Alivia had not been diagnosed with ASD, a process that can take time.

While Jeremy and Sara were reaching out to their pediatrician for help, Alivia’s grandfather attended one of SARRC’s Grandparents Support Group meetings where he learned about the Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment tool — a smartphone-based system that lets parents record and send videos to our staff for analysis in advance of the on-site evaluation.

“We participated in NODA at the end of January and by the end of March she was diagnosed,” says Jeremy.

Just after Alivia turned 2, the family enrolled her in the Community School program where she would receive ABA intervention and the chance to learn, play and interact alongside her typically developing peers. Since that time, the McDonalds have been enrolled in several SARRC programs and have seen the benefits first-hand. 

“We want to make sure that services are continuously growing and expanding, there is so much need throughout the state that is unmet, we’re proud to give to enable this to happen,” says Jeremy. “The education we have received, and the ongoing training and support Alivia is engaged in has enabled her to gain the skills so she can function on a daily basis.”

Now 6, Alivia attends a school for children on the autism spectrum in the morning, followed by several hours working with SARRC’s Comprehensive Behavioral Program team in the afternoon.

“We are proud to support SARRC to ensure they have even more talented staff to make this kind of difference for families,” Jeremy says.  

Originally from Minnesota, Jeremy is a managed IT services and office technologies consultant, while Sara, a registered nurse, is a native Arizonan. Beyond their busy schedule juggling work, school and SARRC services, Sara is an avid photographer and Jeremy loves golf.

But they also make time to support SARRC hoping to see more people benefit from its services. Up next for the McDonalds and other SARRC supporters, is the second annual Yes Day for Autism Oct. 23 at Tempe Beach Park, a family event and fundraiser.

Are you interested in making a difference by becoming a SARRC Multiyear Visionary Partner? Learn more here.