The Downing Family Foundation
Supporting initiatives. Impacting lives.


It is easy to fall in love with your work when your work is defined by the people you serve. The CARE (Community of Autism Resources and Education) Program has evolved into an actual community, however it is much more than a place for resources and education. The CARE Program is now defined by hundreds of amazing individuals and families who seek to be a part of a community that takes on the challenges of having an autism spectrum disorder each and every day.

Through programs such as Camp SSTAR and SSTAR Scouts, the CARE Program has become, as one parent shared, “A place where my son can be himself without judgment alongside others just like him who want the same thing…someone to call friend.”

Each summer for the past three years, Camp SSTAR has been a part of enhancing lives and creating bridges of success for individuals and families. Working on various projects that facilitate pro-social behavior, Camp SSTAR and SSTAR Scouts have the same primary goal. As we work through various mediums such as art, science, special interests, technology, and leisure time activities, our goal is to cultivate appropriate social skills, communication skills, self-regulation skills and organizational skills with each individual. As individuals meet their goals, each outcome becomes our measure of success for the CARE Program. More and more individuals now have the tools to live happier, more fulfilling lives at home, in school, and in their community.

Written by Connie Erbert, Director of CARE and Autism Outreach

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~John Wooden, They Call Me Coach