SENSORY SATURDAYS WITH MAX In its second year, Sensory Saturdays with Max expanded to include, along with fun do-at-home crafts, more “Sensational Saturdays” where Max talked with interesting people connected to the autism community. Among the guests were Miguel and Illiana Figueroa, a father/daughter team who are the stars and creators of the YouTube channel ToyQuest 101. With nearly 150,000 subscribers, they review and discuss toys and pop culture, with the aim to inspire children with autism and special needs. Miguel and Illiana want their viewers to know that they can do anything they set their mind to. While Miguel and Illiana are local Eagles fans, another of Max’s guests cheers on the Birds from Nashville, Tennessee, showing once again that we are Eagles Everywhere. Xavier Moore is active on social media with videos and football trivia. He shared his story and experience to show people that “autism is not something to fear, but to be accepted”. Xavier told Max that being on social media has helped him to gain confidence. One of his favorite quotes he shared is that “whatever you are going through, you can overcome it and you are stronger than you think you are”.
NEURODIVERSITY INCLUSION IN EMPLOYMENT
He took Lily under his wing and made sure she felt comfortable, even though it was also his first season. Likening it to how players exchange jerseys, Ben and another staff member, Tom, donated to each other’s Eagles Autism Challenge (EAC) fundraising. The Wings program recognizes excellence in customer service and Ben earned Bronze Wings last season. It goes beyond the staff, with Lily’s mom and the parent of another gameday staffer, Aidan, connecting through their children working at games. The passion for Eagles Autism Foundation is shared by all staff from administering the 50/50 Raffle which benefits EAF to working at the EAC itself. Plans for next season are already underway for expansion of the inclusion program within the gameday staff, which has shown to deepen the sense of community and bring joy to both the staff and fans.
Initiatives, Kirsten Saraceni, is a resource for both the staff and the supervisors who have embraced the mission of Eagles Autism Foundation. Starting with orientation, Kirsten provides a schedule for what one can expect during that event and then for each game and then walks through the different roles on gameday. She checks in with staff throughout the game and is available to answer any questions. Language about the Eagles Autism Foundation has been added to all job applications and orientation to make all employees aware of the program, whether they would like to utilize the available resources and/or support the cause. Anyone who has interacted with the Eagles and EAF knows that it is all about the sense of the community. Nowhere is that more evident than in the way that Ben, a gameday staff member who self-identifies as being on the spectrum, interacts with staff and fans.
“My whole life (I’ve wanted) to work with the Eagles. I thought ‘Oh My God’ this is what I wanted to do!” This sentiment came from one of this season’s new gameday staff members, Lily, and is something that many might express if given the opportunity to work with their favorite sports team. For those on the autism spectrum, there may be concern if that prospect is a possibility. Neurodiverse hiring for gameday has been an area of continued growth for the Eagles. And it isn’t a case where special positions are created. Matching the skills and abilities of the individual with the most appropriate gameday role is an important part of the process – as well as being flexible when changing that role might be necessary. The Eagles Autism Foundation Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Administrator of Scientific Programs and Inclusion
Max’s guests included ToyQuest 101 creators, Miguel and Illiana Figueroa (bottom left), and self- advocate, Xavier Moore (bottom right).
EAGLES AUTISM FOUNDATION LAUNCHES COLLEGE PROGRAM
In 2020, the Eagles Autism Foundation launched the EAF College Program with the goal of providing educational resources, training, and job opportunities for students, while raising money and creating unique experiences. Designed particularly for those on the spectrum or with an interest in helping the autism community, the program sought to inspire and engage young leaders. In its first year, the Foundation worked with West Chester University’s Dub-C Autism Program (DCAP), its pilot student organization, offering exclusive volunteer opportunities and supporting on-campus fundraising initiatives. In the coming years, EAF is hoping to continue to expand to campuses in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
2021 Eagles Autism Foundation
2021 Eagles Autism Foundation eaglesautismfoundation.org
Powered by FlippingBook