Outpouring of support renews hope for nonprofit helping individuals with autism

Roses for Autism interns, Katie and Justin, hold two of the 84 rose bushes donated by Prides Corner Farms after learning the farm’s new sensory garden was destroyed by vandals. Roses for Autism has been flooded with donations since news of the damage spread.

An outraged community has showered Roses for Autism in Guilford with donations and goodwill since the devastating news broke last week that vandals had twice destroyed their newly planted sensory garden. The outpouring of support includes both floral and financial contributions totaling more $22,900.

“To say that we are overwhelmed by the amazing generosity and encouragement that we have received would be an understatement,” said Michelle Ouimette, Managing Director of Roses for Autism. “Everyone has rallied around our dream of a community garden and are bringing it back to life.”

A sensory garden is specifically organized into different garden beds that are dedicated to inspiring the different senses. The garden can be both therapeutic and educational for a variety of individuals, particularly those with disabilities whose sensory responses are impacted.

The nonprofit organization canceled the grand opening ceremony planned for June 24th after they discovered plants had been taken, statues stolen and structures damaged. In order to rebuild the garden they created a GoFundMe page to raise $10,000 and recruit volunteers.

The response was immediate after word of the vandalism spread.

“I was disgusted by the news of your recent Sensory Garden vandalism reported last week. Why someone could do that is beyond my comprehension. So I would like to help in replanting it,” wrote Len Giddix in an email to Roses for Autism. He is the host of Garden Talk on WTIC-AM radio and an employee of Prides Corner Farms in Lebanon.

Thanks to Giddix’ request, Prides Corner Farms has donated an astonishing 84 rose bushes. The new At Last variety is an extremely disease resistant, fragrant peach-colored shrub rose that won’t be introduced by grower Proven Winners until spring 2018.  The one gallon potted bushes are safely stored in the Roses for Autism greenhouse for the time being.

Financial donations include $5,000 from long time Roses for Autism supporters Kevin & Elaine Cox from their family foundation, and $2,500 from David Kasairz.  Both Kevin Cox and David Kasairz are board members of Ability Beyond, the parent company of Roses for Autism.  In addition, American Express is matching $2,500 of Kasairz’s donation.

“We want to thank all of the compassionate donors for surpassing our original goal,” said Ouimette. “All additional monies will be devoted to ongoing programs at Roses for Autism.”

Before construction on the new garden begins, Ouimette outlines the new security measures that will be put in place. Solar cameras are in the process of being installed around the entire outer perimeter of the grounds. If any motion is detected, a signal is sent out to all management cell phones. The organization is continuing to work with the Guilford Police to identify the culprits and implement other safeguards.

The remaining flower beds have been dismantled and stored in the greenhouse for fresh replanting later this summer. The expected grand opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 16th.

“While this experience has been difficult for all us to comprehend, it has been heartwarming to see the number of people who want to help us make a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy,” explained Ouimette.

Roses for Autism is a 501(c)(3) non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to foster meaningful employment for individuals with Autism.

For more information visit


Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61

Russia expels 23 UK diplomats as fallout over nerve agent attack grows

Russia expels 23 UK diplomats as fallout over nerve agent attack grows

 LONDON — Russia’s Foreign Ministry ordered the expulsion of 23 British diplomats from Russia on Saturday in a tit-for-tat response to Britain’s decision to expel Russian envoys in connection with the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter on British soil. The ministry also declared it was closing the British Consulate General in St Petersburg and the British Council in Russia, in a step beyond the measures taken by Britain. The British Council is a cultural institute […]

East Haven Police investigating fatal stabbing

East Haven Police investigating fatal stabbing

EAST HAVEN – Police are investigating a fatal stabbing that happened overnight. Few details are available right now, but police say they were called to 32 Old Foxon Road about 12:45 a.m. There, they found a male with a stab wound.  Police say he has died.  There was a woman present at the address, and police say there was some sort of domestic dispute before the stabbing. No arrests have been made.  We’ll have more on this breaking story as […]

Bright, chilly weekend; watching a potential storm by the middle of next week.

Bright, chilly weekend; watching a potential storm by the middle of next week.

The Weekend: St. Patrick’s Day and the rest of this weekend will be mostly sunny and dry.   While temps will be on the chilly side compared to seasonal averages, it will be brisk and with lots of sunshine!  Some clouds will mix in at times this afternoon, but they are likely to be few and far between.  Sunday will continue to feature plenty sunshine and chilly temperatures; but at least there will be no snow or rain.   By Monday, temps […]

Top-seed UConn looks for 25th straight opening-round win

Top-seed UConn looks for 25th straight opening-round win

STORRS — UConn coach Geno Auriemma doesn’t take much for granted, but he’s pretty confident his Huskies can get through the first couple rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The top seed in the women’s tournament opens play Saturday against Saint Francis (Pa.) (24-9), a team out of the Northeast Conference. The league is 0-24 in the history of the tournament. Saint Francis seeking its first win in 12 appearances. UConn (32-0) has its sights set on a 12th national title […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s