Harrison, NJ (August 25, 2021) – The New York Red Bulls will be hosting Autism Awareness Night presented by Hackensack Meridian Health on Saturday, August 28 when the Red Bulls host the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena at 6:00 p.m. For every ticket purchased here, the club will donate $3.00 to Autism Speaks. In addition, for every ticket purchased here, the club will donate $3.00 to support Autism CAN (Care, Access, Navigate) at Hackensack Meridian Health.
Red Bull Arena will be fully activated to welcome families impacted by autism with initiatives that include:
· No music played at the BULLevard (fan activation area) from 3:00-4:00 p.m.; music will be lowered from 4:00 p.m. to the start of the match at 6:00 p.m.
· A dedicated entrance at Gate C1 to ensure easier and quieter ingress for families
· LEDs and video boards inside Red Bull Arena will be changed to blue lighting
· Music volume and PA announcer will be lowered throughout the match
· Gianna Sanzone, a volunteer from Autism Speaks, will sing the National Anthem
· Player tunnel will be blue honoring the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign
· Quiet Zone located at a Hospitality Bay on the Plaza Level
· “Sensory Sacks” will be handed out to families impacted by Autism with items including noise canceling headphones, stress ball and wristband with their seating information
"Autism Awareness Night holds a special place in my family's heart and we are thankful that our club comes together every year for those impacted by autism," said Marc de Grandpré, General Manager, New York Red Bulls. "Along with our partner Hackensack Meridian Health, we are proud to provide an environment at Red Bull Arena that feels safe and comfortable for families attending the match this Saturday. Once again, our organization is honored to have the opportunity to support Autism Speaks and their unwavering contribution to the autistic community."
In partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, Autism Awareness t-shirts were worn by Red Bulls players at a training prior to Saturday’s match and will be auctioned off beginning today at 10:00 a.m. through August 30 at 2:00p.m. 92% of the proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks.
Recently, the club hosted a soccer clinic during the summer camp for Nassan’s Place, a non-profit organization for children and families affected by autism. Autistic Patients from Hackensack Meridian Health also participated in the clinic. Hackensack Meridian Health provided cinch bags with soccer equipment (including set of pinnies, disc cones, water bottle, whistle and soccer ball) for campers to take home and practice with their friends and family.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Red Bulls this year for Autism Awareness Night at Red Bull Arena,” said Amy Glazer, executive director, Children’s Health, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation. “New Jersey has one of the highest rates of autism in the country and we know how important care, accessibility and the availability of resources are for autistic children and their families. Earlier this summer, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation launched a fundraising campaign called Autism CAN (Care, Access, Navigate) to raise critical funds for early detection and diagnosis, better access to care environments sensitive to the autistic community’s unique needs and guidance for families on how to find the information they need to best support their child. We are so grateful to the Red Bulls for their collaboration in hosting fun camp sessions for our patients, and for this special night dedicated to them!”
The Red Bulls will partner with Autism Speaks, who is dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
In 2017, the Red Bulls became the first club in Major League Soccer to open a permanent Sensory Room inside Red Bull Arena. The room was available for all families impacted by autism for no additional charge during all home matches prior to COVID-19 and will become available when healthy and safety protocols allow for it to reopen. The New York Red Bulls teamed up with the Family Services team from Autism Speaks to design the room, which provides space for families to enjoy Red Bulls games while sitting inside, away from the bulk of the noise and energy of the arena. The room features dimmed lighting and lightly-colored walls to offer a soothing effect, along with visual aids, fidget toys and other activities.
For more information on purchasing tickets to benefit Autism Speaks and to learn more about Autism Awareness Night presented by Hackensack Meridian Health, please visit newyorkredbulls.com/community/autism. Donations are not tax deductible. To support Hackensack Meridian Health’s Autism CAN program, please visit give.hackensackmeridianhealthorg/HMHAutismCAN.