11 years ago one man set out to run a marathon. He did so to honor his young son who runs the marathon of autism every day, with no option of ever quitting. With passion in his veins and a dream on his heart this father's marathon run would mark the beginning of Santino's Voice.
Santino's Voice was created by Matt and Nikki Catherincchia in 2009. The initial purpose was to help their son, Santino, who had been diagnosed with autism three years prior. The financial burden of his therapies due to lack of insurance coverage had begun to overwhelm the family. In a quest to ease this burden, Santino's Voice grew from one man running to a team of runners and walkers made up of family, friends, and those who had a passion to make a difference in Santino's life and in the autism community.
However, the ultimate goal for Santino's Voice was never to just help one family...but many. From the beginning God had whispered a dream into the Catherincchia's about the future for Santino's Voice. A dream birthed out an understanding of how overwhelmed and alone many families with autism feel and a saddness that, statistically, 95% of families with special needs children feel they cannot attend church. The dream was ultimately for Santino's Voice to become a non-profit that would help many families just as their own family had been helped. In late 2016 that dream became a reality. The goal for Santino's Voice is two-fold; the first is to help create opportunities for individuals on the spectrum to have victories over the challenges and hurdles of autism, and the second is to bring the hope, love, and acceptance of a faith community to families with special needs children. Santino's Voice is designed to give scholarships to individual families and/or organizations to help with therapy and recreational costs for children on the spectrum as well rescourcing Metro Detroit churches to begin special needs ministries.
To date Santino's Voice has partnered with the Play Place for Autistic Children in Sterling Heights, MI and Sterling Heights Paks and Rec. to provide opportunities for people with autism to attend camps and other programs. As we continue to grow in our community partnerships we are confidnet that this will exponentially increase the amount of kids and families that Santino's Voice can help and impact. Together we will bring acceptance, love, and hope to many.
Your generosity allows us the ability to ensure that familes walking through the journey of autism know that they are seen but more importantly they are heard. We hear their cries for help and acceptance for their children. Autism victories, that is what we are after. Seeing the blessing in the different and celebrating every hurdle jumped and every obstacle overcome. Thank you for joining us on this journey! With awareness comes acceptance. With acceptance comes inclusion. And when we are all included then different will no longer be a problem to solve but a gift to be treasured.