STRATHAM, N.H., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Lindt Chocolate, the world's leading producer of premium chocolate, today announces the 2010 Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism. Three individuals have been selected from an exceptional group of nominees and are being recognized and honored as extraordinary champions for those affected by autism in their families, homes and communities.
The nominations for the 2nd annual Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism were reviewed by a panel of judges from Lindt and Parents magazine, and the 2010 winners all demonstrated an unwavering dedication to helping those who have been affected by autism. The three honorees will each be awarded $5,000 and receive a trip to New York to attend an awards luncheon at The New York Palace hotel in their honor on April 1, 2010, the first day of National Autism Awareness Month.
- Lisa Lane of Greenville, S.C. helped to establish the Project HOPE Foundation to serve those affected by autism. With Project HOPE, Lane has been instrumental in the development and growth of Hope Academy, an inclusion-based non-profit school, and Hope Reach, a provider of intensive one-on-one therapy. Lane has raised significant awareness through speaking engagements and, most recently, through the development of an educational DVD to help people understand what autism is, how it affects those diagnosed, and what support exists for those dealing with autism.
- Elizabeth Ritchie of Knoxville, Tenn. has a strong passion for helping educate others about autism and is responsible for securing several grants for autism research and education. She has been instrumental in the development of several school programs, as well as the Camp Koinonia Foundation and Breakthrough Corporation. Ritchie's outstanding commitment and energy has generated significant awareness and furthered the support of autism in her community.
- Elizabeth Scheinberg of Newark, Del. recognized the need in her community for sustainable recreation in a safe and secure learning environment. She founded "The Merry Otters," a club that provides free recreational swimming and social events for families affected by autism. As the silent auction committee chair, she has helped raise more than $60,000 for her local autism support organization. In 2009, she was elected to the Christina School District's Board of Education, as a champion for all children and their educators. Scheinberg is a passionate advocate and volunteer dedicated to promoting autism awareness and acceptance.
"We are thrilled to honor this year's Lindt Unsung Heroes of Autism, who were all inspired by their own children with autism," said Thomas Linemayr, chief executive officer and president, Lindt USA. "We're proud to give these extraordinary individuals the recognition they deserve and look forward to honoring them on April 1."
In addition to the Lindt Unsung Heroes program, for the past two years, Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks to support those affected by autism and to raise awareness of and funds for the cause. Lindt is supporting Autism Speaks this Easter season with a 10 cent donation from all Lindt Gold Bunny purchases and a $1 donation for every free e-card sent from LindtGoldBunny.com. On April 1, 2010, Lindt is launching an online auction of celebrity-signed Lindt Gold Bunny porcelain figures at www.ebay.com/LindtGoldBunny with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks. For more information, please visit www.LindtGoldBunny.com.
About Lindt & Sprungli
Founded in 1845, Lindt & Sprungli is a global leader in the premium chocolate category, offering high-quality products in more than 80 countries. Lindt & Sprungli operates eight production facilities in Europe and the United States and employs 6,300 worldwide. Lindt USA operates more than 70 retail stores throughout the country and maintains wide distribution through extensive retail and wholesale channels. For more information on Lindt, visit www.lindtusa.com.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $131 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks also supports the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning "Learn the Signs" campaign with the Ad Council which has received over $200 million in donated media. Autism Speaks' family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a community grant program and much more. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government's response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
SOURCE Lindt Chocolate