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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

POAC Autism Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Education, Health, Human Services, Mental Health

Mission: POAC Autism Services, a nonprofit organization, is making a difference today for every child with autism in our state. Each year POAC provides hundreds of free events for the autism community including: free training and education for parents and educators; free recreational and support services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families: and free training for police and first responders which has been life saving for many NJ children with ASD

Results: Over 250 FREE Events and Trainings Every Year.

Target demographics: Anyone who loves or works with children with Autism

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of families all over the state of New Jersey.

Geographic areas served: New Jersey

Programs: Free Family Events, Free Workshops and Trainings, Saving Lives & Keeping Children Safe & Autism Awareness Campaigns.

Community Stories

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Ricky A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wish i could rate them even hugher This group does everything free for the autism community My brother is able to attend over a hundred free events a year He has done things that we xould never have dreamed of POAC has taking him surfing, sailing; gym parties and so much more He even attended a special needs prom with POAC He has made real friends and i have meet other siblings who underatand the joy and challenges of having a brother with autism When we attend events , it always feels like we are coming home

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the best Autism group in New Jersey. They have hundreds of free events for our family and they have trained tens of thousands of police and first responders. Everything we attend is free of charge and like they say at every event we are family.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is amazing! Look at their website regularly to see what Family Events they are having, and a ton of workshops for parents to attend. They are all about education and providing fun activities for the entire family..I have had wonderful experiences with POAC. Made lots of friends through their online support group the NJ Autism Warriors. POAC is a family, and invaluable to this community.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization does more to help kids and adults with autism than any other group in NJ. Their police training alone makes them a very important and valuable charity and one that's needed more than ever as kids with autism become adults with autism. That would be enough but there is so much more, most notably their recreational events which are awesome. There is something going on all the time. We love POAC!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

They do have free events which is wonderful for the community but I donated when they stated over 90 cents of every dollar went to events for the kids. 990 forms, however, show that not to be true unless you count 2 people getting paid 156,ooo dollars a year and they still have overhead. Walks make about 200 grand which is kind of a wash. I wish more went to the kids instead of pockets. If you ask people to walk and donate it should be stated how much of a living you are making from helping the autism community

4 Sandra120

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is amazing!!! My two boys always enjoy the many amazing events!! Thank you POAC for all that you do!!!

4 Terri80

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is a community that supports, uplifts and celebrates each and every victory. For our family the resources alone have been a gift. But perhaps their greatest contribution are the fact that all events are for the WHOLE family not just my spectrum kid. We are a typical family when we are with POAC.

5 Fanny O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I felt lost after my child's diagnosis. I didn't know what to do or where to go for help. Most of the other known places were dead ends. When my child entered the preschool program at the age of 3, a teacher gave me information about POAC. My life has never been the same since. I have attended all the workshops. I participate in the walks and recreational events. The support groups. My child is now 8 years old and I feel that Gary Weitzen and everyone at POAC are part of my family! This is one of the few organizations that you call and someone knows you by name and actually will speak to you to help at a moments notice, maybe when you are at your lowest point. I have met some of my greatest friends through POAC. I will always support POAC because what they do for our community is incredible. It is a place where you can actually see the changes and the resources given to the families. I LOVE YOU POAC!!!!!!!

5 Tiffany71

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so nervous to attend the first event almost a year ago. What if my child screams, what if he starts acting out, I don't know anyone. I almost didn't go several times that morning. But, it wasn't for me, it was for my son! Everyone was so friendly and I was at ease quickly. I had tears in my eyes after hearing Gary speak that very first time. I knew instantly that he was one amazing individual! I attended event after event, meeting more and more people in the same boat as me and I've never looked back! We are all in it for our kids and there is never any judgement no matter what behavior the child is displaying. There is only support! I have made some fantastic friends and my son has had some of the best social experiences of his life this past year! I hope to attend the support groups and some trainings in the future too. I will forever support this organization! My son loves Mr. Gary and we are so blessed to be a part of this fabulous family!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is amazing. 3+ years ago my family ventured to our first POAC event and we became part of a bigger family. We feel such an amazing part of a group of wonderful, caring people where no one has to worry- we all fit in :) The events are just a fragment of wht the organization is... POAC's advocacy and teaching reach far and wide. Thank you so much POAC.

6 Veronica K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POAC is a wonderful organization that helps so many people and their families. They have been so helpful to myself and other families. The volunteers and educators are so wonderful. Getting an autism diagnosis for your child/ren is very scary. Where do you go? Who do you turn to? You go to POAC!!❤️❤️

4 Loretta11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so grateful for this group. My son and I have both made friends by attending events and I found a wonderful amazing support system. i am so grateful for this organization

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POAC is such a wonderful organization and helps so many families and teachers.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a sigh of relief to have an organization such as POAC to turn to when your child is first DX with Autism. Between the resources they provide, recreational events & trainings, it is so nice to know that you have an entire autism family that is with you on the same journey. Thank you Mr. Gary & POAC for all that you do!!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome group. Has helped my family in countless ways.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Poac has been a lifesaver for my family, i cant say enough good things about them! They are always welcoming and provide so many things for my autistic daughter, as well as her older sister and parent trainings. Ive met the most wonderful people that i consider family. Five stars is not enough to rate this wonderful organization

5 April78

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has been a HUGE help to my son and my family!! They offer many trainings to help me help my son and myself I am very BLESSED to have my POAC family!!! The love and support is like nothing else!! The events every yr really help my son have a judgement free zone for that time and it has helped him a lot to accept who he is and thrive!!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has been amazing to our family. Not only do my kids love all the activities (so many activities for the whole family!) but it was a tremendous help when the staff at POAC helped me to fill out applications for services for my son with PerfomCare. The forms were confusing and they helped me to get it filled correctly. I love them.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POAC is great .. They are their own family . Always sticking together and making hard times fun .

6 Peggy65

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have a child with an autism dx as well as a down syndrome diagnosis - it was hard to fit in with either population with this diagnosis - but POAC has welcomed us from the first moment as part of the autism family and there is always great acceptance for my son with all. The executive director, Gary Weitzen creates an environment of love and support throughout all of his endeavors, whether they be educational training, recreation or any of the services provided - I am both inspired and humbled by all involved with this organization. I feel we all strive to help each other be better people and to help the organization move forward with it's mission.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has provided my family with love and support. The events that they offer are amazing. We are an extended family or what Chris calls us POAC cousins. My life would be completely different without them

5 debmar05

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POAC has given consistent support, resource and recreation to my son since he has been diagnosed with autism 5 years ago. They offer so many social activities so that you can meet new people and connect with other families with similar challenges. Gary is a wonderful autism leader who genuinely cares for all and tirelessly gives all of his time and effort to improve the lives of the children with autism and their families. They are #1 and I know they will continue working everyday to give our children all the resources they need to live a productive life

4 Jen_67

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been lucky enough to be involved with POAC for a few years. At every event, training, support meeting.. we feel like we are with family. They do so many events were my son can feel free to be himself, as well as everyone can be their own unique self. The trainings are so so informative and helpful.
Overall, an amazing organization run by some of the BEST people!

3 Kellie11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great charity that provides meaningful support gorgeous parents, and fun events for autistic children and their siblings.

5 Brigitte6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POAC is a wonderful organization that I have personally witnessed do great things for so many beautiful families. I know my niece and her family have been a part of POAC for sometime and I've seen so many changes in my nephew no doubt in part to POAC.

3 Emily148

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm so glad we found POAC! It's a wonderful organization that brings special families together, gives training to parents, provide wonderful activities for our children, inform parents on services, and make new friends. Thank you Gary and POAC for allowing us be a part of this awesome organization! In Gary's words"we are one big happy family!"

4 Monika7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Poac has changed our lives I don't know where we would be without them. There's so many events for our families and trainings they offer. My kids love Mr.Gary we are all one big family..

5 Christine Daggett

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I have been invokved with Poac for almost 10 years now. The trainings and amazing recreation events have helped us navigate this crazy autism life and in the process we have truly become a family. I've never had such an incredible support system and I never feel alone. My kids love Mr. Gary and he truly loves every one if our kids.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Awesome charity offering support and a ton of free year-round activities for children with autism and their families. Gary, the executive director, has worked tirelessly to promote autism awareness and acceptance in New Jersey and beyond. More power!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been members of POAC, For three years. This organization has been a huge support to us as parents, and has given our son a place to have the freedom to be who he has been created to be with autism, to find friends he can relate to, to have some fun times with people who understand … And to have Mr. Gary... Greet him at each event and make him feel extra special!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is a wonderful organization that has changed my life in more ways than one. Their FREE traingings for parents and first responders are amazing and have saved many lives! The children love the hundreds of Rec events that POAC provides yearly! "Mr.Gary" is a precious asset to the Autism community!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is an outstanding organization that provides services, shares knowledge and trains first responders. As a parent, I have learned so much through Facebook and in seminars. I have seen how quickly one becomes part of the POAC "family" because it truly is an organization filled with love. It only wants what is best for the Autism community and those running it work round the clock to make certain each individual reaches goals s/he has set. POAC is making a difference!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been involved with POAC for about 10 years ! Without their support , recreational activities, training & so much more my son , Jimmy & I would never have come so far ! Gary Weitzen is a amazing person ! We are blessed to have POAC IN OUR LIVES! We are not alone we have one great AUTISM FAMILY!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about POAC which provides so much to our kids, families & community. Thank you Mr. Gary & everyone at POAC for all that you do!

3 Stephanie258

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is not only a fantastic organization that helps the Autistic community, they are family. They offer amazing free events for our kids, training for parents, trainings for educators and first responders. And if you ever have a question or issue, they are a phone call away. I have never been part of such an awesome community where everyone is welcome and where everyone is family.

2 Heather272

Client Served

Rating: 4

I am just now learning about this organization, but as a mom of a newly diagnosed son, the support, information, programs, and events have been absolutely unbelievable! I am proud to announce that I now have students attending fundraisers and an expanding family if support at every turn.
I cannot imagine facing this alone, and with POAC there is absolutely no need to.

4 Nikki48

Client Served

Rating: 5

Where do I begin... POAC has done so much for our family... Between the many FREE events, where my boys can be themselves!! But more importantly, the workshops that are provided. I have learned so many life saving tips at these workshops.. Gary and his staff treat everyone like they are family.. All the children love Mr. Gary and the fun times he provides with the events...

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

When it comes to serving the autism community, POAC has an authentic and measurable impact toward improving the lives of individuals with autism, including their families, professionals, and first responders who interact with our community. POAC offers parent and professional training, peer education through school assemblies, Project Shield training for first responders, and whole-family recreational events... all free of charge! Two of our children have autism, yet all four of our children know that they're each a valued member of the POAC family. It used to be that families touched by autism were isolated, alone, and felt abandoned. Information and resources were scarce and unreliable. No more! We are so grateful for POAC. We know we'll never walk alone, and it's evident that our children feel the same way.

4 Angela169

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has done so much for so many people. Gary and crew provide training and fun events and so much more. I am so grateful to them

4 Rebecca182

Client Served

Rating: 5

So many things I can say about POAC Autism services. We have attended multiple FREE events as a family. It is wonderful to be able to go out and allow my children to have fun and enjoy themselves without being judged by others. In addition, the amount of FREE support and training POAC offers is amazing and available to any family living with autism. Gary Weitzen truly cares about all of the families he deals with. And he will never turn anyone away.

2 Maura4

Client Served

Rating: 5

From the countless training sessions to the inclusive family events, POAC is by far the most valuable Autism agency to families in NJ

4 Donna262

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC Autism Services benefits many families by providing resources, training's and many free community events for families of children with Autism! I have gone to several workshops or parent training seminars which have proven to be beneficial! The trainers were knowledgable and very good at what they do!! The community events welcome all family members and include them in all activities. All of the events we have participated in were free! The volunteers and POAC staff were welcoming to all!! Well deserved, A++ organization, one that I surely speak up!!

3 Mari14

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't even begin to fond the words to express how greatful ans blessed we are. POAC is an amazing organization. They are my secon family... and my aon has been blessed with all their events. And Gary is always there to answer questions and to accommodate any one.. thank yiu for all that you do. Everyone is trully blessed.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The FREE training I received as a parent is invaluable. They listen to us parents and hear what we need and always find a way to get us the information we are seeing weather it's through professionals who share their knowledge or FREE events for the kids where us parents can meet and exchange ideas and strategies. I feel like I was lost and overwhelmed before being pointed in their direction. Thank you for all you do for the Autism Community.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to be introduced to this organization. It provides helpful information and trainings when you're not sure where or what to do. The events are great for your family because no one is judging you and your family can be yourselves and enjoy the activity. This group treats you like you're family. I love the support groups for parents. It has helped me open up and realize that everything is ok and they understand what you're going through. Gary is awesome with the kids and such an outstanding role model. I am very blessed to have been able to find this organization and everyone I have met and continue to meet.

5 Jackie78

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't even come up with the right words to express how much of an impact POAC has made on our family!! Simply amazing & the most caring people you will ever met

5 Missy22

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has played a large part in my family's life since my nephew my daisy pass over 10 years ago, and more directly since my daughter was diagnosed 3 years ago. I have never seen people more eager to make children happy (even when there are obstacles to overcome) and to make the health and safety of our children a priority. The work hey do with communities, law enforcement, school and communities is paramount for our children to be successful.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC has changed my family's life for the better! The training and free recreational events have given us both knowledge and a sense of community and family. I forever grateful for their presence in our lives!

5 Davina D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

POAC is very dear to my family and although we cannot always participate as much as we want to we adore this organization and are so grateful for the many services they provide! The free events they offer are also for siblings which is so helpful when you have a large family as going out is so expensive! The support from members and Gary is amazing. Most of the services we are receiving for my son are thanks to POAC and it's members. I always recommend this charity and my employer donates a few times a year as part of our monthly charity:) POAC doesn't just help kids with autism, they help the entire family! Pictures are from a Free POAC event all three of my kids attended! Thank you POAC and Gary!!!

6 Krissie G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I adore this organization. Not only do they provide fun events for autistic childen, such as surfing, pirate party, gymnasium days, horseback riding and many other activities our children may not be able to enjoy with out stigma, but they also provide free training to first responders, teachers and parents. They put so much money into the children and are amazing in every way. They recveive no government funding so all is based on donations and I always recommend this charity. LOVE LOVE LOVE POAC!