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    The Oxnard Police Department and Starbucks Raise Funds and Spread Awareness for Autism Society Ventura County in April of 2023

    News Release

    Each year, the Autism Society celebrates the month of April as Autism Acceptance Month: an effort to spread awareness and acceptance of individuals and families affected by autism. 2023 marked the fifth consecutive year the Oxnard Police Department joined in this effort with educational community “pop-ups” and fundraisers. Teaming up with local Starbucks stores and with the support of sponsor donations, the Oxnard Police Department and Oxnard Police Community Foundation raised over $10,250.00 for Autism Society Ventura County.


    Funds were raised through sales of Oxnard Police Department “Autism Acceptance” patches and T-shirts, which were produced in part through donations from the awareness campaign’s title sponsors: Stacy Miller Public Affairs, the Oxnard Peace Officers’ Association, and Channel Islands Social Services. The Channel Islands Farmers Market, F. Morton Pitt Company (Ventura), and local business owner Ron Wertzenberger of Vogue Sign Company also donated services to the effort.


    Oxnard Starbucks stores served as host to four police department pop-ups and also collected donations from customers and employees throughout the month of April. Local District Manager Anthony Valdez noted, “When communities and leaders come together, we know that we can achieve greater things than when we are apart. Being involved is part of our mission and values at Starbucks. We are passionate about supporting the communities that we serve and the Autism Society is a great partner and well deserving organization.”


    According to their website, the Autism Society Ventura County was founded in 1994 by local parents, educators and professionals to help support newly-diagnosed families and develop needed local resources. The mission of the Autism Society Ventura County is to improve the lives of all affected by Autism. They work to promote lifelong access and opportunity for all individuals within the autism spectrum and their families to be fully included members of the community. As a local non-profit, the organization relies on local partnerships. Autism Society Ventura County Vice President Ashley Pope explains, “We are so grateful to partner with Oxnard PD and Starbucks for hosting Autism Acceptance Month for the 5th year! The funds we raise allow us to make an impact on Oxnard and the rest of Ventura County through support groups, advocacy, art classes, informational programs, and so much more. The families we serve are touched by the kindness and generosity of the Oxnard Police Department and Starbucks. We are lucky to have a police department that is so dedicated to understanding, protecting, and serving the entire community.”


    Sharon Francis, Founder and CEO of campaign sponsor Channel Islands Social Services, said, “Channel Islands Social Services has partnered with Autism Society Ventura County since our founding in 2004 to strengthen families by offering them free Respite Care. The spectrum of support ASVC provides to autistic children, adults and their families has proven to be an invaluable resource. Our organization always sponsors their events and fully endorses their outreach and training to the community and to our first responders.”

    The Oxnard Police Department strives to build strong community partnerships and assist Oxnard’s vulnerable populations. Police Chief Jason Benites recognizes the importance of autism awareness and education. Chief Benites stated, “I am proud to be a part of a police department that supports Autism Society Ventura County. Our commitment to this cause stems from the recognition that every individual deserves equal opportunities and understanding, regardless of their unique abilities or challenges.  Whether it is a child, a cousin, or a family friend, many of us have close connections to persons with autism, which also brings it home for us.  In our furtherance of public safety, we should always remember that progress lies in our ability to build a compassionate and inclusive society. By supporting the Autism Society, we affirm our dedication to this great cause.”


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