Giving Tuesday: BH’s LOGAN Autism Center wants to do more
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Donations keep Benton Harbor’s LOGAN Autism Learning Center up and running. And on this Giving Tuesday, the staff is hoping a little boy named Beckett will inspire you to chip in so more families can be helped.
“It’s night and day,” said Mary Murray, Beckett’s grandma. “If you’re going to go from a 1 to 10, he went from a 1 to a 10.”
Beckett Murray first came to the LOGAN Center as a non-verbal 3-year-old with a long road ahead.
Now he’s six; he loves swimming in the ball pit at the center; and he just started kindergarten this fall.
“I like to go to school,” he said.
But at the LOGAN Center, Beckett became known as ‘Shark Attack Guy’ because of his signature shark slippers.
The staff started playing ‘shark attack’ with Beckett to encourage him to wear them. It quickly became a tool to help him socialize.
Director Kristin Wier said early intervention cases like Beckett’s are encouraging. But she said there’s still a big need in southwest Michigan for expanded adult services.
“I don’t think there’s a lot that is able to really help someone with an autism diagnosis find a really good employment position or help them be more independent in their lives and be a part of their families and be a part of their community,” Wier said.
Money from donors has built up the Benton Harbor campus.
It cost about $1.6 million to renovate the building it’s in; now LOGAN is only $200,000 away from paying off the bills.
But the center is almost at capacity, just one year in.
“If we didn’t have donations it’d be a lot harder to sustain the level we are [at] in southwest Michigan,” said Patrick Roemer, LOGAN director of development. “We would not be able to take in kids that can’t afford it.”
Grandma Mary hopes more people will be inspired to give, especially on Giving Tuesday, because she said the work done at the LOGAN Center is priceless.
“For Beckett to call me grandma, to say, ‘I love you. I love you, Grandma,’ how can you measure that?” she said. “And how can you measure what he’s going to contribute to the world?”
Though the LOGAN Center is still looking for donations to finish paying off the Benton Harbor campus, Wier said she’s already looking for ways to partner with other organizations to expand adult services.