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Jennifer Barnum
Don't Stop bELIeving!

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Raised of $15,000



We will soon be stepping into a new life journey with Eli as he will be graduating from Atlee High School (AHS) in June. How did we get here so quickly? I wish time would slow down. When Eli was first diagnosed at 3 years old Nathan, and I were faced with all the things he would most likely never do. They were big milestones that most parents take for granted- drive a car, go to college and get married. It took the breath out of me. I grieved these things hard. I felt that each of them was a loss of a big experience and a rite of passage for Eli AND for me too.

But as time has gone on and we have settled into the autism life, these big things hit less hard. Their importance is not quite as significant as they once were. AHS has fully embraced Eli for the past 4 years in ways I could never have imagined. His senior year has been his “best year ever” (as Eli likes to proclaim). For example, he has had the opportunity to be the football and girls' basketball team manager (aka “hype man”). He is a member of SODA (Student Organization for Developing Attitudes) and TILT (Teens Interacting and Learning Together). He has made lasting friendships, and many have cheered and supported him in the Homecoming Court and Mr. AHS. Most of the students know him as the kid who is ALWAYS smiling, giving hand hearts or doing a crazy dab. While in high school, Eli has had several amazing internship opportunities. You might think folding towels at a hotel, serving coffee or selling cookies is no Harvard but it is everything to the three of us. I have learned that staying in the moment and celebrating the little things is what matters most. As his mom, I get the gift of seeing each little thing. It slows me down. It humbles me. It reminds me what really matters in life. Ironic how perspective changes you. Autism has changed me. Belonging to someone who is different changed us and I wouldn’t change anything about that.

As I mentioned, Eli will be graduating with his friends in June and has applied for a year-long work skills program through VCU and Hanover County. We find out if he gets accepted into the program at the end of March. If not accepted, we will be looking for employment opportunities for him. Life with autism can be challenging and isolating some days because our path looks different. And then on some days it is also the biggest gift. And I think that sums up Eli perfectly. He is our biggest gift. And if you are lucky to know him, he is a gift to you too.

Please join us in donating and/or participating in the Autism Society Central VA 5K and Family Fun Day. All funds raised provide much needed support to families and individuals like Eli living with autism, and all the money stays in the greater Richmond area. I hope you will consider supporting Team bELIeve in one of the following ways:

Make an online donation to the ASCV (Jennifer Barnum- Team bELIeve) and/or join Team bELIeve on Saturday, May 18 at Crump Park:


Jennifer & Nathan (Eli’s #1 bELIevers)


Top Donors

$10,595 Raised By 117 Donors

$1,500 Donated By Marc Flickinger
$500 Donated By Diana Brown
$400 Donated By Ed & Kristi Atkins
$250 Donated By Julia Heaton
$250 Donated By Keith Baughan
$250 Donated By William Perkins
$200 Donated By Deborah Carlton
$200 Donated By Gordon Morris
$200 Donated By Murphy Reedy
$150 Donated By Brandy Palmer
$150 from Anonymous
$150 from Anonymous
$100 Donated By Alison Loughran
$100 Donated By Andrew and Rebecca Rowe
$100 Donated By Anna Aldridge
$100 Donated By Anne Dodson
$100 Donated By Ashley Huffman
$100 Donated By Autumn Harbour
$100 Donated By Beta Delta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa
$100 Donated By Carla Schumacher
$100 Donated By Caroline Kirby
$100 Donated By Cathy Yeatts
$100 Donated By Chris Marett
$100 Donated By Danielle Custalow
$100 Donated By Deborah Totten
$100 Donated By Ellen Bradley
$100 Donated By Emily Loach
$100 Donated By Erica Knight
$100 Donated By Gretchen Drees
$100 Donated By Hope Krutz
$100 Donated By James Rideout
$100 Donated By Jeremy Johnson
$100 Donated By Jett & Sutton Ekman
$100 Donated By John Doane
$100 Donated By Judy Washburn
$100 Donated By Kelly Iles
$100 Donated By Lilian Chamberlain
$100 Donated By Lurene Kubincanek
$100 Donated By Mary Kusek
$100 Donated By Maryann Johnson
$100 Donated By Meg Maurer
$100 Donated By Megan Atkinson
$100 Donated By Robin Gardner
$100 Donated By Ruth Stover
$100 Donated By Sarah Savedge
$100 Donated By Stacey Price
$75 Donated By Christy Wilson
$75 Donated By Jon Pigg
$75 Donated By Jonathan Fischer
$70 Donated By Sarah Garwood
$50 Donated By Ami Williams
$50 Donated By Amy Kerns
$50 Donated By Angie Floyd
$50 Donated By Ashley Rosado
$50 Donated By Beverly C Brown
$50 Donated By Caitlin Moses
$50 Donated By Casey LaPrade
$50 Donated By Catherine Soucie
$50 Donated By Cecie Negron
$50 Donated By David Craymer
$50 Donated By David Pierandri
$50 Donated By Eleanor Lanigan
$50 Donated By Hannah Reedy
$50 Donated By Jamie Kanki
$50 Donated By Jessica Carty
$50 Donated By Jill Smith
$50 Donated By Julia Sichol
$50 Donated By Julianne Peck
$50 Donated By Karen Thacker
$50 Donated By katherine buhse
$50 Donated By Katie Noblet
$50 Donated By Katy Packett
$50 Donated By Keri Wertz
$50 Donated By Kristina Mickiewicz
$50 Donated By Lyne Neathawk
$50 Donated By Lynsey Leib
$50 Donated By Maddie Stewart
$50 Donated By Maria Gorden
$50 Donated By Mark Partridge
$50 Donated By Matt Blum
$50 Donated By McKenna Cummings
$50 Donated By Paige Long
$50 Donated By Rebecca Hall
$50 Donated By Scott Melton
$50 Donated By Tajuana Eddleton
$50 Donated By Team Tschantre
$50 Donated By The Griffins
$50 Donated By The Salapka Family
$50 Donated By Vicki Williams
$40 Donated By Deano Deved
$40 Donated By Lucy Baughan
$40 Donated By Suits Nancy
$35 Donated By Gene Williams
$35 Donated By kimberly quann
$30 Donated By Alexa Brat
$30 Donated By Gail Francis
$25 Donated By Abby Mertes
$25 Donated By Bailey Liddell
$25 Donated By Beth Smizik
$25 Donated By Christy Ellis
$25 Donated By Courtney Jackson
$25 Donated By Dawn Nickerson
$25 Donated By Ed Berenson
$25 Donated By Eleanor Nexsen
$25 Donated By Jennie Mummert
$25 Donated By Jenny Drake
$25 Donated By JoAnna Parker
$25 Donated By Marky g
$25 Donated By Meghan Ondrish
$25 Donated By Nicholas Kent
$25 Donated By Suzan Quesenberry
$25 Donated By Tara Savedge
$25 Donated By Tracy Berry
$20 Donated By Heather Edwards
$20 Donated By Kayleigh Watson
$20 Donated By Victoria Longshore
$15 Donated By Megan Harvey

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