autism project logo
There are so many passionate and amazing organizations throughout our communities. In this week’s Friday Focus, we got to learn all about The Autism Project and their dedication in Southern Maryland. The Autism Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, advocate for and empower individuals on the Autism Spectrum, their families and communities. They include children through adulthood, individualizing services to focus on what that person needs to learn and build skills in the most. Angela Gaither Parker, Director of The Autism Project, shared with us her favorite moments of the year and some upcoming events.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

The Autism Project is a nonprofit organization that was started in 1998. We serve southern Maryland counties – Calvert, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Charles and St. Mary’s. We work with student upon initial diagnosis (or suspected diagnosis) up through adulthood. We also pride ourselves on working with the entire spectrum in terms of severity of needs. We provide social skills groups, summer camps, aquatic therapy, individual therapy, family training, ½ day therapeutic play program, siblings groups and monthly socials. Our therapy is eclectic in that we borrow from the best practices for teaching students with autism. We use activities and projects to encourage generalization of skills to the real world.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

Our students do many awesome things, but, I am most proud of how well they do with our annual bake sale in April. Our students bake all of the items, package them, label them, organize them and then go out into the community at various sites to sell them. When they are finished they assist in counting, sorting and totaling up the money. This fundraiser raised almost $2,500 this year and it was all done by our students.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is getting the word out that we are here and we can help. It saddens me when we get students that live in Calvert County and had no idea we were right down the street all along. Another challenge we face is providing scholarships for students in low income families.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

We just completed a 5K race in Lothian which was a huge success. We are gearing up for summer camp which starts in mid-June. We will be holding our annual Redskins raffle in the fall. This is our major fundraiser and we have been able to purchase many items for our center from the proceeds of this raffle.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

Email me directly at theautismproject1@gmail.com, go to our website at www.theautismproject.info or check us out on Facebook.


The La Plata Blue Knights was started as a youth organization for boys and girls in the 1980’s by Bill Bartelt. It provides football and cheerleading programs for children and teens before high school. The La Plata Blue Knights create a real sense of community as it is an activity that can be passed down from generation to generation. A lot of the parents were Blue Knights as children and now their children play and cheer too. In this week’s Friday Focus we spoke to Christine Tharaldson, to discover challenges the Blue Knights face and the courage, positive values and responsibility they strive to instill in their youth.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

LPBK is a nonprofit, community-based volunteer youth organization providing organized football and cheerleading programs for children ranging in ages of 4 to 14. We work with our carefully selected volunteer coaches to promote a positive atmosphere to ensure responsibility, honesty and good sportsmanship. Our goal as an organization is to have our athletes enjoy participation and competition in this organized league so that they may become happier and better people.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

It’s hard to pick one moment! Some of our favorite moments include game days, cheerleading competitions and celebrating at our Homecoming events.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

As a non-profit our rising costs for new uniforms and equipment. As our community continues to grow, so does our equipment and safety costs.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?

YES! REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Please visit our website at www.LBPK.com for more information. Registration is open until 8/12/17 pending availability!

We have a Fundraiser night at Roy Rogers in La Plata on July 26th from 5-8pm.

Also, we have a few events to help support our cheerleaders in raising funds for new uniforms. Please email fundraiser@LPBK.com for more information on upcoming events.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

If you are interested in your child participating in Football or Cheerleading visit our website at www.LPBK.com to register! Also we are ALWAYS looking for sponsors! Please email fundraiser@LPBK.com for sponsorship information.