Throughout the holiday season, Christian & Small will feature a special blog series here on Nonstop Insights called “Advocates in Our Community” that will be focused on how our attorneys and staff members actively contribute to the good of the Birmingham community outside of the office. This article has been cross-posted to the firm’s 2014 Holiday Giving Campaign website, www.nonstopadvocates.com.
For five years, Christian & Small Associate Will Thuston has volunteered his time to Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center, a non-profit organization that has been devoted to providing treatment and educational services for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe emotional disturbances since 1973. This year, Will is serving Glenwood as president of its Junior Board.
With its beautiful campus located on more than 300 acres just south of Birmingham, Glenwood’s services are provided in a least restrictive setting, through a continuum of care, with the highest respect for those served. Today, nearly 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For Will, one of the most gratifying parts of volunteering with Glenwood is the opportunity to interact with the people who benefit from Glenwood’s services.
“Next week, Junior Board members will go to Glenwood’s campus to spend time with residential clients, day clients and their families while we all decorate Christmas arts and crafts. A few months ago we went bowling with several of the kids,” Will said. “Not only are we out in the community talking about Glenwood and raising money for them, but we also get to see where that money goes. It’s a full-circle operation, which has been the most rewarding thing for me.”
When it comes to fundraising, the Junior Board plans and organizes an event called “A Night Under the Big Top,” a black-tie, casino-style event that’s held each February. This year, there were 600-700 people in attendance, and more than $215,000 was raised to support Glenwood and its programs. Christian & Small has been proud to be a sponsor of the event in years past.
While Will and the Junior Board are already in planning mode for 2015’s February 13 event, Glenwood has another fundraiser that’s become well known in the community during the holiday season. Its Holiday Pecan Sale started over 38 years ago, and today the mammoth-size, “first-shake” pecans from southern pecan farms are available in many grocery stores throughout the Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and North Alabama areas. Booths are also set up at businesses and events throughout the holidays.
The firm encourages all of its attorneys to be actively involved in our community, and we are proud that Will has embraced a leadership role with an organization that not only provides premier care and valuable therapeutic services to its residents and clients, but also treats these individuals and their families with the utmost dignity and respect.