Autistic children who receive services provided by the Augusta Levy Learning Center in Wheeling will benefit from $3,894 raised by employees of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in April, which was Autism Awareness Month.
"This is all so generous. ... It goes directly to services for the children," said Kathy Shapell, executive director of the Augusta Levy Learning Center, after receiving the donation from casino officials Monday afternoon.
"Over 80 percent of our children are from low-income families who cannot afford the research-based, intensive intervention the Levy Center provides, so we rely on contributions and fundraisers to make up the difference. We cannot do this without community support," Shapell stated in a press release.
Casino employees who participated in the "Jeans and Jersey Fridays" fundraiser were allowed to trade in their casino-issued uniforms to wear jeans and their favorite sports jersey when they made a $3 donation to the cause. In addition, a donation box at the casino's main entrance was available for guests to make a donation. Employees Becky Adams and Randall Peterson were instrumental in originating the idea after they were approached by Levy Center supporters.
"We offer 'Jeans and Jersey Fridays' on a regular basis to raise funds that help our fellow employees when they are in need of assistance due to an extraordinary circumstance," said Kim Florence, marketing director at Wheeling Island. "This time we decided to help an outside, local organization. The feedback was very positive, not only from our employees who enjoyed the dress-down day, but also from our casino guests who commended our employees for what we were doing."