JUPITER, Fla. — A momentous milestone was reached on Tuesday in Jupiter by the Els For Autism Foundation, as it continues its unwavering mission of providing assistance to individuals on the autism spectrum with the inauguration of a new building designed specifically for adults.
The opening of the Stoops Family Adult Family Services building was marked with a momentous ribbon-cutting ceremony, which served as a testament to the organization’s commitment towards aiding individuals on the spectrum as they transition from high school into adulthood and beyond.
This remarkable achievement in their quest to improve the lives of those on the autism spectrum was accompanied by an elevated level of excitement expressed by Ernie Els, a well-known professional golfer and a prominent figure associated with the foundation.
Els expressed his enthusiasm for the new facility, acknowledging the continued expansion of their services. He stated, “Being that we’ve been an ongoing center, with the lower school, upper school, we’ve got our golf program at the back, and this is a continuation of what we are doing here, moving into the future. Most facilities around the world at 21 they are at the age they stop. There’s not much more facilities can do, so we wanted to be a little bit different and start an adult services program for kids that are quite severe who can’t quite get back into society and give them a place where they can thrive.”
The potential impact of this facility and its focus on providing support for individuals on the autism spectrum after they turn 21 was underscored by Els. He deemed it of utmost importance, stating, “I think it’s a dream and part of our dream has become a reality and this building is one step further.” Els’ wife, Liezl, concurred with his sentiment, highlighting the significance of the facility and its impact on the lives of those in need. She stated, “It’s just seeing that small part of that dream from that moment of diagnosis and that fear that you have nowhere to go and what’s next. And then being able to build this and pave the way for others to follow has been amazing.”
At the heart of the Els Center of Excellence campus lies the undeniable mission to empower individuals on the autism spectrum by equipping them with vocational, independent living, and social skills. The inception of this dream can be traced back to the Els’ own son, Ben, who was diagnosed with autism at the tender age of 3 and a half. The journey from that daunting diagnosis to the realization of this state-of-the-art facility has been awe-inspiring for the Els family.
Ernie Els expressed his gratitude towards the community that has embraced their cause and welcomed them with open arms. He marveled at the support they have received, stating, “I would never have imagined standing here in Jupiter, Florida with this kind of facility. My wife is all excited. She pushed from the start and for Ben to be accepted by the community is huge. The community has welcomed us, businesses in the community have welcomed us. And this facility is only going to enhance kids, integrate even more into society.”
The achievement of this milestone by the Els For Autism Foundation represents a significant step forward in their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum. It serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration not only for the community it serves but for individuals and organizations worldwide dedicated to supporting those with autism.