Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the Wampler Foundation!

August 2016 - We are pleased to have awarded a red envelope grant to The Wampler Foundation, a non-profit founded by Stephen Wampler, an exceptional individual born with cerebral palsy. Stephen started the foundation and Camp WAMP to provide a sleep-away week of camping under the stars for disabled children ages 10-18. Aidan and I had a lovely lunch with Stephen and his wife, Elizabeth, and got to learn about them and their outstanding Foundation.

Read more about them at

Adaptive Sports and Rec Awarded Grant

August 2016 - We are so proud to have awarded a grant to Adaptive Sports and Rec! This San Diego-based non-profit runs a week long summer camp as well as wonderful adaptive sports classes throughout the year. Our grant helped to support their summer camp, which this year, welcomed more than 70 kids with a wide array of physical disabilities, enabling them to take part in numerous sports and recreational activities. Here we are presenting our red envelope grant to ASRA board members, Burt Grossman and Nancy Rosenberg.

Check out this fantastic organization at

Congratulations to Special Spirit Inc.!

July 2016 - We are so excited to award this outstanding organization a red envelope grant. Special Spirit is a non-profit that utilizes the transformative power of horses to improve the quality of life for underserved children with a diverse range of mental and physical health challenges. Founder/Executive Director, Eva Lund, saw how being around horses helped her godchild with special needs, gain stability and be calmer and happier. Her goal is to be able to offer all of Special Spirit services at low or no-cost to clients. With AREF's grant, Special Spirit will be able to cover at least 100 sessions of therapeutic riding for kids with special needs! We applaud your "special spirit" and salute you!! Cheers!!

Check them out at

7 year old, Ian, Awarded to Attend Summer Camp

July 2016 - We are so happy to award a red envelope grant to 7 year old, Ian, to attend summer camp at The Help Group. Ian has autism and his parents struggled to find an appropriate and enriching program for him during the summer. Government support programs no longer provide support to special needs families for summer camp, so Ian's parents were very happy to get AREF's support. AREF is granting Ian with 3 weeks of summer camp at The Help Group. We hope you have a great summer, Ian!

KEEN Los Angeles Awarded Grant

July 2016 - We are pleased to announce a red envelope grant award given to KEEN Los Angeles!! KEEN stands for Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, and is a wonderful volunteer-driven non-profit that empowers youth with disabilities by providing free, non-competitive one-to-one programs of exercise, fitness and fun. KEEN welcomes every child regardless of the nature or severity of his or disability, and always free of charge. They run various sports and recreational programs throughout the year in various locations throughout Los Angeles.

Check out this wonderful organization at:

Grant Awarded to Felix to Attend UCLA Summer Camp!

June 2016 - We are pleased to announce a red envelope grant awarded to 3 year old, Felix, to attend summer camp at UCLA Intervention Program. Felix was diagnosed with micro chromosomal deletion 2037. He is active, social, but has very little language and needs to be monitored for safety. His parents hope that summer camp will continue to foster his social and behavior skills gained from the Intervention program.

Grants Awarded to The Painted Turtle and Academy of Music for the Blind

March 2016 - At our 5th Annual Casino Night Gala Fundraiser, we were so proud to award a Red Envelope Grant to The Painted Turtle and to Academy of Music for the Blind.

Grant Awarded to Free 2 Be Me Dance

February 2016 - We are so proud to announce a grant award given to Free 2 Be Me Dance!! This amazing organization was founded by Colleen Perry, in 2009, inspired by a program at Boston Ballet teaching dance to children with Down Syndrome. Free 2 Be Me's mission is to bring the joy of dance to individuals with Down Syndrome. Today they offer classes in Ballet, Tap, and Hip-Hop.

Please read more about Free 2 Be Me at:

Music Lessons Granted to Kelly!

January 2016 - We are so pleased and proud to announce a grant awarded to 5 year old Kelly, who was born blind. Kelly's father applied for a grant for Kelly to take music lessons from Academy of Music for the Blind (AMB). Kelly had taken a few lessons from AMB but the family was unable to continue funding it. AREF has granted her with 4 months of weekly music lessons at AMB. AMB is a non profit school of music founded by Director, David Pinto, to provide comprehensive music education for musically-talented blind children.

Check out this remarkable organization at Congratulations Kelly and may your music talents flourish at AMB!.

iPad Mini Granted to Emily

December 2015 - With the help of AREF supporter Lisa, we were able to grant 5 year old, Emily, an iPad mini. Emily's mom, Erica, applied for an iPad for her daughter diagnosed with autism. Emily is non-verbal and Erica hopes the iPad will help improve her communication skills. We are so grateful to supporter, Lisa C., for donating iPads to us, and helping to make Emily and Erica's Christmas 2015 a little more merry! Merry Christmas friends!

$5000 Grant Awarded to Anka Behavioral Health, Inc.

December 2015 - We are pleased to award a $5,000 grant to Anka Behavioral Health, Inc. Anka's mission is to eliminate the impact of behavioral health problems for all people. They provide an array of supports and services to consumers of all ages with serious and persistent mental illness. They also have programs that provide an array of service modalities designed to meet the needs of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Anka has 8 residential programs throughout California that support the needs of intellectually disabled and developmentally delayed children and youth ages 6 to 17. AREF's grant will be applied towards these special programs.

Check them out at:

Grant Awarded to Special Olympics Southern California!

August 2015 - We are proud to announce a $5,000 grant awarded to Special Olympics Southern California San Gabriel Valley!! The grant is to support San Gabriel Valley School Partnership Programs in various School Games Competition throughout the season. SOSC's School Partnership Program brings Special Olympics sports curriculum into the adaptive physical education classes of partner schools. These competitions give athletes an opportunity to showcase the skills they have developed while being cheered on by their classmates, family and friends.

Check them out at:

8 Year Old, Aliyah, Granted Disneyland Tickets

August 2015 - We are so proud to announce a grant award given to Aliyah! Aliyah was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 2. She immediately began several weeks of radiation, had surgery and endured weeks of chemotherapy. Having lost some abilities from the treatments and surgeries, Aliyah began physical, occupational and speech therapies. Today, Aliyah is cancer-free and about to become 8 years old! Aliyah's mom applied for a grant for Disneyland tickets to take her daughter to celebrate with her favorite Disney princesses on her birthday in September. AREF is so happy and proud to be awarding Aliyah and her family with five 2-Day Park Hopper Disneyland tickets. Aliyah, Congratulations on your strength and perseverance! AREF wishes you a magical and joyous 8th birthday!

$4000 Grant Awarded to Reid's Gift!

August 2015 - Aidan was so happy to join me in presenting a $4,000 grant award to Reid's Gift. Reid's Gift provides services to children, teens, and adults with special needs in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties through after school programs, skills-based summer camps, therapeutic yoga, family-friendly educational events, and in-school support. Founder/Executive Director, Molly Rearick, founded the organization in memory of Reid, a bright, talented young man with autism who passed away in 2007. Keep up the great work Molly and Reid's Gift!

Check them out at:

6 Year Old, Alan, Receives a Special Feeding Chair System

August 2015 - We are pleased to have made a grant to 6 year old Alan. Alan has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and a g-tube. His therapists recommended a feeding chair system for him similar to the equipment used at school for feeding. The government support programs denied and rejected the family's applications. AREF was so happy to be able to donate Aidan's own Special Tomato feeder chair. It was a perfect fit for Alan! Aidan was happy to see his chair go to a deserving family in need.

$5,000 Grant Awarded to Golden Heart Ranch

June 2015 - We are so excited to announce a grant of $5,000 awarded to Golden Heart Ranch!! Golden Heart Ranch is a non-profit organization dedicated to building an exceptional lifelong community for young adults with special needs. They offer life skills and social skills programs supporting the unique needs of teens with social differences as well as autism and anxiety disorder. Through programs like Track Club, Supper Club, Cooking Class, Dance Class, and Spring and Summer Camps, they promote organization and planning, problem solving and socialization. With AREF's grant, GHR will be able to offer scholarships to families for camp and AREF will also be a sponsor of Golden Heart's Urban Adventure, their annual fundraising event on Sep 27, 2015.

Check out this wonderful organization at

Grant Awarded to Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles

June 2015 - AREF is happy to announce a grant of $4,000 awarded to Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles! Their mission is to enhance the welfare of people with Down Syndrome and their families through the development and promotion of education, counseling, employment and recreational programs. DSALA plans to use the grant funds to continue the enrichment and social skills classes for children and continue the support groups and workshops for parents.

Check them out at

iPad and Proloquo2Go App Awarded to Dante

June 2015 - We are pleased to announce a grant awarded to 4-year old, Dante! AREF granted Dante an iPad and $250 gift card to purchase the Proloquo2Go app to help improve his communication skills. Dante has autism and is mostly non-verbal. While he has good receptive language skills, his expressive language is limited and causes frustration. Dante's family and therapists believe that the iPad with the Proloquo2Go app will improve Dante's current and future language to assist him in his activities of daily living both at home and at school to promote his maximum independence.

Grant Awarded to Voice For Maddie

May 2015 - We are pleased to award Voice For Maddie a $2000 grant! Voice for Maddie is a non-profit started by a parent of a child named Maddie, who was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome. Voice For Maddie focuses on supporting literacy and communication skills to ensure the basic challenges of life can be overcome by breaking through barriers for children with disabilities. Their ultimate goal is to bring out the voices of everyone with Angelman Syndrome.

Find out more at:

Grant Awarded to Infant-Toddler Development Center CSUDH

April 2015 - We are pleased to award a $4,000 grant to Infant-Toddler Development Center CSUDH!! The Toddler Center CSUDH-Foundation is a full-time center-based inclusion program serving young children with typical development from 18-30 months and young children with developmental challenges from 18–36 months. The center provides an enriched program that concentrates on skill acquisition, learning through play, and language development, as well as other domains.

Check them out at:

STARS Receives $5,000 Grant

March 2015 - We are pleased to award a $5,000 grant to Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS)! Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, STARS enriches lives through adaptive recreational activities. Aidan went adaptive skiing with them in January and had a blast! Since 2011, STARS has served over 340 clients and has now expanded to offer programs and camps in biking, kayaking, fishing and waterskiing.

Check them out at

$5,000 Grant Awarded to PCDA

March 2015 - Based in Pasadena, Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA) is a non-profit organization that offers a range of multi-disciplinary screening, evaluation, therapy, and specialized services for children, birth through 21 years of age, and their families, when there are any concerns or problems in development, behavior, or social relationships at home, school or in the community. Utilizing a DIR/Floortime relationship-based approach, PCDA is an innovator in multidisciplinary team services and training that recognize the importance of supporting the 'whole child' and special relationships with parents, siblings, other caregivers, and friends.

Check them out at

Grant Awarded to Family Resource Library

February 2015 - The Family Resource Library in Alhambra, part of the East Los Angeles Regional Center, serves families who have children with developmental disabilities and chronic medical issues by providing emotional support, training, information and referrals.

Mychal's Learning Place Awarded A $5,000 Grant

February 2015 - Mychal's Learning Place is an exceptional enterprise dedicated to assisting individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome, to build self-esteem and independence by providing social and recreational activities with an emphasis on life skills training in a safe and loving environment.

Brayden Awarded A Grant for 3-Week Intensive Suit Therapy

February 2015 - Brayden's mom, Allyson, shared their story and thanked AREF supporters

Jose Gets A New Push chair!

February 2015 - Aidan was excited to meet grant recipient, Jose, as he was picking up his new wheelchair. Jose's mom applied for a grant to get 13-year old Jose, a more portable wheelchair. Jose's usual wheelchair weighed a heavy 65 lbs and was very big and bulky. When they transported Jose and his wheelchair in their car, only the driver and one other family member could ride because the wheelchair occupied 2 spaces. Thanks to the expertise of the staff at Sherman Oaks Medical Supply, AREF purchased a new push chair that was much lighter, more portable and could fold down and fit in the trunk of their sedan. Jose's mom, grandma and siblings were so happy with his new pushchair and that they could ride altogether in the car.

Grant Awarded to Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals

October 2014 - We are thrilled to award a grant for $2,500 to Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals!! They are a wonderful organization founded in 1991 by Sheri Shrier, to uplift the spirits of hospitalized children with life-threatening illnesses. Happy Hats also helps developmentally disabled teens and young adults gain hands-on experience in a work-like setting pressing and packaging the hats and activities books. Congratulations and Cheers for Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals!!!

Please check out this exceptional organization at:

Pediatric Therapy Network Awarded Grant for $7,250

October 2014 - We are pleased to award Pediatric Therapy Network a grant for $7,250 to purchase patient testing and evaluation materials and equipment. PTN is the preeminent center in the South Bay that provides occupational, physical and speech language therapies and also social skills programs to children with special needs. The grant funds will now allow them to adequately test and assess the long list of client referrals waiting to be serviced. Congratulations PTN! Keep up the good work!

Find out more at:

Grant Awarded to ACEing Autism

October 2014 - We are pleased to award ACEing Autism a $5,000 organizational grant!! Richard Spurling and his wife, Dr. Shafali Jeste, combined Richard's love for tennis with his wife's clinical expertise in autism, and founded a wonderful non-profit, ACEing Autism. ACEing Autism makes the sport of tennis accessible and fun for children with autism, while they work on motor skills, socialization and improve self-confidence. ACEing Autism has serviced more than 500 children with autism across 30 locations nationwide.

Check them out at:

Bike Donated to Angel

August 2014 - Congratulations to 5-year old Angel S.! Angel was the lucky recipient of Aidan's donated bike. Aidan was happy to donate his own personal bike to Angel. Happy riding, Angel!!

Smartboards Granted to Kayne Eras School

July 2014 - We made a grant to ECF's Kayne Eras School to purchase two SMART boards for their classrooms. These SMART boards are an important and effective teaching tool helping to engage and focus students with special needs. Hooray for the Kayne Eras school!

Levi Granted Therapy at One For All Healing Arts

February 2014 - 6 year old, Levi, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy, was granted 6 weeks of intensive, comprehensive therapy at One For All Healing Arts.

Grant Awarded to Spencer

February 2014 - 5 year old, Spencer, diagnosed with Autism, was granted a mini-iPad, and communications therapy!

Special Delivery from Red Envelope!

December 2013 - This week, Aidan and I, personally delivered a special "Red Envelope" to Ms. Sheila Kun of the Pulmonary Division of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. AREF re-granted CHLA Pulmonary Division with another $1000 of gas gift cards. Ms. Kun will be able to distribute the gas gift cards to 20 families of medically-fragile patients to help alleviate the sting of the high costs of gas, so that patients can keep their clinic appointments.

Jacklyn granted Intensive Sensory Integration Therapy

August 2013 - 9 year old Jacklyn, diagnosed with Autism received a grant from AREF to do an Intensive Sensory Integration Therapy program at NAPA Center in Los Angeles. Jacklyn's parents were getting progessively concerned about Jacklyn's safety and behavior at school and home.  As concerned parents, they took her out of the troublesome class and changed schools.  While things got better, they were still concerned about her autistic behavior.  Through a network of teachers and therapists, Jacklyn's parents heard about an Intensive Sensory Integration Therapy program at NAPA Center.  From there, they applied for a grant for therapy from AREF.  AREF funded the therapy and Jacklyn underwent the 3-week Intensive Sensory Integration program at NAPA Center in Los Angeles.  After starting the therapy, Jacklyn's parents reported that Jacklyn was eating better, more organized and showed less erratic behavior.  Jacklyn's parents were so grateful for the opportunity to have their daughter experience the innovative therapy, a program they would have no other means of funding.

 Check out NAPA center at:

Westley gets new Push Chair

July 2013 - 5 year old Westley suffers from Severe Dystonia and Epilepsy. Westley's severe dystonia caused his body to posture and hyper-extend into unusual and troublesome positions in his wheelchair.  This was causing him bruising and injury and became increasingly hazardous.  The wheelchair, which was provided by a government support program, became inadequate and unsafe, as it had very little adjustments and modifications which could accommodate Westley's needs. Patricia, Westley's mom, had repeatedly requested help from their local therapy unit for modifications to the chair, but they provided no good solutions.  She then asked them to fund a more suitable push chair for Westley, but was denied. Having nowhere else to turn, Patricia applied for a grant from AREF for a new push chair for Westley.  Understanding the predicament Patricia was in, AREF awarded Westley the grant for a new push chair. AREF purchased a custom-fitted Ormesa New Bug Pushchair for Westley from the wonderful staff at Sherman Oaks Medical Supply. Mom and Westley were very grateful and ecstatic with the new Pushchair.

Check out

Grant Awarded to Exceptional Children's Foundation

May 2013 - AREF awarded a grant of $5,000 to Exceptional Children's Foundation (ECF)  in support of their Early Start program.  ECF provides the highest quality services for children and adults who are challenged with developmental, learning and emotional disabilities - empowering them to reach their greatest potential.  Their Early Start program provides cost-effective and comprehensive early intervention and educational services for chilrden aged 0-3 who are challenged with developmental disabilities. The program was severely impacted by major public funding cuts.  AREF is proud to support ECF's Early Start Program's ability to help children maximize their potential.

Find out more at


Grant Awarded to Pediatric Therapy Network

April 2013 - AREF proudly supports Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN) in Torrance.  PTN is a non-profit children's therapy center founded by therapists and parents committed to providing quality services for children with special needs. AREF awarded PTN a $5,000 grant in support of its Camp Escapades summer camp.

Check them out at


Sandra Granted Clown for her Birthday

January 2013 - Sandra is an adorable and charming 4 year old who has Spina Bifida.  Mom and Dad often found it difficult to financially keep up with Sandra's medical and therapy needs.  They wanted to make her birthday extra special and applied for a grant to get a clown for her party.  AREF happily granted her a clown to make her birthday party extra special.

Grant Given to Friendship Circle

December 2012 -- Organizational Grant awarded to Friendship Circle Conejo Valley!  AREF is proud to award a $4000 grant to the Friendship Circle of Conejo Valley.  Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization which brings together special needs children with typical peers through various programs that foster deep and unconditional friendships. Bravo Friendship Circle Conejo Valley! Read more about them at:

Alberto Gets Electric Scooter

November 2012 -- Grant awarded to the Mancarella family! 10 year old Alberto suffered brain cancer at 4 years old and endured years of painful treatments. Though the cancer is now in remission, it greatly affected his mobility.  Alberto used a walker to get around, but it exhausted him.  Alberto's mom applied for a Grant to get an electric scooter to help Alberto's mobility.  AREF purchased the Luggie electric scooter from the wonderful staff at Sherman Oaks Medical Supply.  Alberto is so happy now to be getting around in his new electric scooter provided by Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation!  

Check them out at

iPad Awarded to Abbie

October 2012 -- Part 2 of Abbie's grant awarded! Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation awarded Part 1 of Abbie's grant in July and granted her an assessment session with an Assistive Communications expert. Now, AREF is happy to award Part 2 of the grant to Abbie granting a new iPad and assistive communications therapy sessions.

iPad Awarded to Brooke

September 2012 -- Grant awarded to 20-year old Brooke! Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation purchased and delivered a new iPad to Brooke. Brooke has a progressive spinocerebellar disease and she now finds it more and more difficult to get out of the house. The one thing that linked her to the outside world and gave her pleasure was her laptop and it recently crashed. Needless to say, Brooke was ecstatic to get a brand new iPad from AREF.

Kids Sent to Summer Camp

August 2012 -- Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation is proud to support these 7 kids with Family Grants to attend Summer Camp at Camp Escapades.

In prior years, these kids received scholarships, no longer available, from government programs or other foundations. Thus, they were thrilled and grateful for AREF's grant support this year.

Camp Escapades is a wonderful 2-week camp tailored for special needs kids put on by Pediatric Therapy Network in Torrance, CA.

Learn more about them at:

Photos Left to Right:  Erick, age 6, Dx: autism; Tiana, age 13, Dx: cerebral palsy; Ryan, age 8, Dx: autismPhotos Left to Right:  Erick, age 6, Dx: autism; Tiana, age 13, Dx: cerebral palsy; Ryan, age 8, Dx: autism

Abbie Awarded Communications Therapy

July 2012 -- Grant awarded to 6 year old Abbie, diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. Abbie's mom has been battling with her school district to get speech therapy for Abbie. Abbie is a bright girl but minimally verbal. Mom reports that the school district has done little to help Abbie with communication in the classroom and has given her antiquated modes of communication. Mom applied for a grant for Abbie seeking a communication device and/or augmentative communications therapy.

Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation awarded Abbie the grant and funded the services of an Augmentative and Assistive Communications expert to conduct an assessment and make recommendations for a communications device.

Antone Awarded Communications Therapy

June 2012 -- Grant awarded to 6 year old Antwon, diagnosed with Hemophagocutic Lymphohisiocytosis, an immune system disorder. Antwon has cerebral palsy and is minimally verbal. Mom applied for a grant to help Antwon improve his communication skills in the classroom and at home. Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation awarded the grant and funded 8 therapy sessions with an expert in Augmentative and Assistive Communications. The expert will work with Antwon to utilize his iPad device and develop it into a communication device for Antwon to use in the classroom and at home.

Gas Gift Cards Given

May 2012 -- Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation gives a $1000 grant to the Pediatric Pulmonology department at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Ms. Sheila Kun, a nurse at CHLA for 36 years, applied for a grant requesting gas gift cards for her many ill patients who have difficulty making clinic appointments due to the escalating gas prices.

Many of the patients in her clinic have complex lung disease, are in wheelchairs, have tracheostomies, and need ventilators and oxygen. For many of these patients, seeing their doctors and staying healthy became more and more of a challenge due to transportation difficulties and high gas prices. Ms. Kun's consideration and compassion for her patients is truly immeasurable. AREF granted her application and awarded her with $1000 worth of pre-paid gas gift cards to distribute to her patients.

Grant Awarded to Disabled Sports

February 2012 -- Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation awards its first Organizational Grant in the amount of $4,000 to Disabled Sports USA Far West. DSUSAFW leads the way in adaptive sports and recreation for people with disabilities. Their mission is to provide affordable inclusive physical and recreational activities that build health and confidence. The grant award was presented to DSUSAFW President, Doug Pringle, at the Casino Night Gala Fundraiser. Find out more about this incredible organization at:

Karla gets a new Stroller

October 2011 -- Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation awards The Camacho Family the first Family Grant. Karla Camacho, 5 years old, suffers from seizures and spastic diplegia. The family reported that Karla's current wheelchair sits very upright and has no recline feature and makes her very uncomfortable. The family requested a special needs Axiom Stroller from the Foundation. On October 7, Aidan's Red Envelope Foundation delivered a new Axoim Stroller to the Camacho Family. When Karla sat in her new stroller for the first time, a huge smile and joyful vocalizations came out of her.

She was so happy she did not want to get out! Dad took her out immediately for a walk around her neighborhood.