Hollywood Nights

A trip to the movie theater is something most of us take for granted. For children with autism and other disabilities, going to the movies can be a challenge. Rotterdam, N.Y., Lodge No. 2157 used its Promise Grant to make sure these children had the same opportunities as other children.

Elks partnered with the Autism Society and other local groups to hold three events at a local theater called “Sense-able Movies for the Whole Family.” Sense-able movies are quieter, and catered to the needs of children with autism and other disabilities.

Tickets were free to children and their parents who wanted to attend. Before each event, volunteers were trained by the Autism Society to ensure a welcoming atmosphere for the children.

Box Office Success

All three events were a big hit! Children loved the popular films—Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, and Happy Feet 2. Elks spread the drug awareness message to all who attended, and parents were grateful for a fun, inclusive event for their children.

One parent writes, “Thank you so much for hosting these movies. My daughter has never been able to go to the movies before. You have given us a great gift—the gift of doing something ‘normal.’”

Play it Again, Sam

Project Manager Pedro Rosa was thankful for the partnerships the event inspired. “Community Investments Program grants are a great way to get other organizations in your community involved with the Elks,” says Rosa.

These partnerships and the great community response have inspired the Elks to show more films. This spring and summer, the Lodge will use its Gratitude Grant to show more “Sense-able Movies.” That makes perfect sense to us.

The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $6.5 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges an opportunity to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community.