From Patchwork to Schoolwork…Project LUCA Raises Over $100,000 for Children with Autism Using Quilts & Quilting


Woodbridge/North York, ON – On March 5, 2010, the Shining Through Centre launched its new fundraising initiative, Project LUCA (Loving and Understanding Children with Autism), at its 11th Annual Fundraising Gala in Brampton, ON.

Designed to fundraise for and raise awareness about children with autism in a unique way – using quilts and quilting – Project LUCA was warmly embraced by Gala guests, who donated over $100,000 to support its launch.

"Insofar as quilting is the act of individuals stitching small pieces together into a beautiful whole," says Project LUCA creator, Jess Abramson, "it is the perfect symbol (literal and physical) for families' and communities' approach to solving the puzzle of autism."

Luca, age eight, is a student at Shining Through. Diagnosed with Autism at two, he enrolled in Shining Through just before turning four and has since learned to speak, read, type, perform independent care tasks and play with his brother. The most important change his family has observed is that Luca now seeks their affection.

Luca's family, like many families of children with autism, is facing the loss of government funding for his education – funding that enables him to attend Shining Through, Ontario's foremost provider of intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy. Without this funding, Luca will be forced to withdraw from the Centre.

"Our goal for Luca is the same as it's always been: to get him the best possible education and continue to improve his social skills," says Luca's father. "Without Shining Through, that goal will be far more difficult to attain."

Dedicated to helping Autistic children, like Luca, and their families access the best possible education, Project LUCA offers numerous avenues for participation, from participating in the "Friends of Project LUCA" Quiltathon to making a "Quilt n' Tie" Corporate Quilt to booking a "Stitch n' Learn" Educational Workshop for your classroom. Everyone from sewing rookies to quilting artisans is invited to participate in the project.

Project LUCA (Loving and Understanding Children with Autism) is about bringing families and communities together around children with autism. Project LUCA uses quilts and quilting as fundraising and educational tools in support of Autistic children and their families. For more information please visit
About the Shining Through Centre:

The Shining Through Centre was founded in 2001 to provide an intensive and comprehensive educational program for children with autism. With campuses located in Woodbridge and North York, the Shining Through Centre is regarded as the premier site in Ontario for support for children with autism. The program is based on scientifically validated procedures of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), offered through one-on-one instruction for each child. For more information please visit