Artists Aid Autism at Arkville fund-raiser

By Brian Sweeney
An Artists Aid Autism benefit held in Arkville on August 31 raised more than $4,000 to benefit the Delaware County ARC (Delarc). The event, held at Casey Joe’s Coffeehouse, featured live music and a silent auction. Organizers had hoped to net $2,500. The success of this fund-raiser far exceeded what event organizer Jerry Stein had envisioned when he set out on a quest to give back to his community.
“I’ve been a weekender here for four years and I was seeking a way to contribute to the community that has provided so much entertainment and joy for me and my wife,” he explained.
Among those assisting with putting together the fund-raiser were Casey Joe’s owners Joe Moskowitz and Pauline Liu, and Margaretville resident Rich Anderson.
As Jerry’s vision of Artists Aid Autism came into focus, he said the response received from the community in support of the event was inspiring.
He noted that many local artists donated pieces for the fund-raising auction and that there were a number of musicians who were pleased to donate their time and talents. Headlining the musical lineup was Arkville resident Steve “Sredni” Vollmer. Steve a has distinguished career in the music world and has played with the likes of The Band and Bob Dylan. He wowed the crowd with his harmonica work at the fund-raiser.
Also taking to the stage were pianist/ singer Wendy Simon, blues singer Wendy Nief and “Country John” on fiddle. In addition, VH1 award-winning songwriters DubSound Distortion came up from Oakland, NJ to support the cause. Jann Rudd, mother of the musical brothers, designed the flyer which was posted throughout Delaware County to attract visitors to the event.
Naturally, Delarc officials were equally thrilled with the success of the fund-raiser.
Many will benefit
“As a nonprofit organization serving nearly 400 children and adults in Delaware County with a variety of developmental disabilities, including those with autism, we rely on the financial and volunteer support of the local community,” commented Delarc’s Community Relations Director Catherine Tweedie.
“You can imagine our excitement when Jerry told us that Delarc — and in particular our Community Living Skills program in Arkville — was selected as the recipient of funds raised as the result of Artists Aid Autism,” she added.
Autism is being diagnosed at an alarming rate of one in 150 people across the country, and people who live in Delaware County are no exception.
“As the number of children with Autism in Delaware County continues to grow, so must our knowledge and resources. So, while a portion of the funds will be used to purchase educational and recreational materials and equipment for the benefit of the people served by Delarc, we’re also excited about using a portion of the funds to further educate our staff and families about autism and making more information and resources available to them,” Delarc Director George Suess concluded.
According to the National Autism Association, autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of three. It impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved.
Planning is underway for the second annual Artists Aid Autism.
For more information about The Arc of Delaware County, autism, or the Artists Aid Autism benefit event, contact Catherine Tweedie, Delarc’s community relations director, at 607 865-7126 or e-mail:

Steve "Sredni" Vollmer  showcases his harmonica skills at the Artists Aid Autism fund-raiser.Steve "Sredni" Vollmer showcases his harmonica skills at the Artists Aid Autism fund-raiser.