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Eagles Autism Foundation shines a light on autism acceptance during TODAY Show takeover 

Eagles Cheerleaders and All Abilities Clinic participants live on the TODAY Show.
Eagles Cheerleaders and All Abilities Clinic participants live on the TODAY Show.

NEW YORK – As an NBC producer counted down from five, a roar from the crowd and the sound of the Eagles Drumline could be heard on live television and in Rockefeller Center – one of the largest TODAY Show takeovers was underway.

To kick off Autism Acceptance Month, the Eagles Autism Foundation participated in a TODAY Show takeover in New York City to promote autism acceptance and the organization's All Abilities Clinics.

"One of the most important things is to show that you can create accessibility to families and not put limits on people," said Ryan Hammond, Executive Director of the Eagles Autism Foundation. "Presenting support, proactive resources, and a trained staff can really change someone's life."

Kylie Kelce, Senior Event Consultant for the Eagles Autism Foundation, joined Hammond for live hits with TODAY Show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb during the hour-long takeover.

Hammond credited Kelce for providing this wonderful opportunity to the Eagles Autism Foundation, taking the spotlight off herself and shining it on the work that the foundation does daily to provide for those on the autism spectrum.

One of the many activities that the Eagles Autism Foundation has available is its All Abilities Clinics.

The All Abilities Clinics – ranging from football to cheer to STEM and the Drumline – are built with resources and support integrated into the event structure to promote accessibility for all participants. The goal is to create an inclusive environment that offers an experience for individuals with special needs to participate alongside their peers.

"The lead is taken by Kiki (Kirsten Saraceni, Scientific Programs and Inclusion Initiatives Director for the Eagles Autism Foundation)," Kelce said. "She helps put together a place that is accepting and understanding and applies all the sensory needs that could possibly be met."

Many participants in the All Abilities Clinics will continue doing what they learned at the clinics in their daily lives, whether it be taking drum lessons or joining their high school cheerleading squad.

The Eagles Autism Foundation celebrated the first day of Autism Acceptance Month with a TODAY Show Takeover live in New York City. EAF hosted 30 families to participate in their All Abilities Clinics on the TODAY Show Plaza. Check out the best photos from an awesome morning!

The Eagles Autism Foundation showed off the clinics to a live audience around the country on Monday.

Thirty Eagles Autism Foundation families were given a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience, joining Eagles employees, SWOOP, the Eagles Cheerleaders, and the Eagles Drumline in New York City to display their skills in three unique clinics.

Ben Esquibel is a frequent participant in the All Abilities Clinics. He even brought his drum to use during the show.

"It was amazing," Esquibel said. "It was a great opportunity to be here and do what I was doing. I appreciate all that the Eagles Autism Foundation does."

"The Eagles organization is top-notch," said Dustin Esquibel, Ben's father. "To see him happy is amazing."

The Eagles' art gala, “Green Is the Heart Inspired,” will run from Thursday, April 11 to Sunday, April 14, at the award-winning Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philly's historic Old City District. All 35 original pieces, curated by the artists themselves, will be auctioned, with all proceeds benefiting the Eagles Autism Foundation.

The Eagles Cheerleaders were on hand to host the Cheer Clinic, teaching the kids a cheer and dance routine that they performed live on the TODAY Show.

Eagles Autism Foundation ambassador Landon Dickerson, naturally assisted with running the football drills. The two-time Pro Bowl guard applauded the kids' footwork and touchdown celebrations, noting that they didn't need much teaching from him.

"The Eagles Autism Foundation means a tremendous amount to me," Dickerson said. "It is special to be an ambassador and come out here to show what the foundation is all about and what a great cause it is."

With the All Abilities Clinics wrapping up at the end of the month, the focus is shifting to the Eagles Autism Challenge on Saturday, May 18, 2024. To celebrate Autism Acceptance Month, the Eagles Autism Foundation is offering a free registration code (Promo code: April24) that will eliminate the registration fee.

EAC 1920

Sign up TODAY for the Eagles Autism Challenge!

There's still time to join us for the 7th Annual Eagles Autism Challenge, presented by Lincoln Financial Group, on Saturday, May 18th! Be there with your favorite Eagles and help turn autism awareness into action.

While April is officially Autism Acceptance Month, the Eagles Autism Foundation celebrates autism acceptance year-round, something they hope becomes a habit for others.

"We are aware that one in 36 families are affected," Hammond said. "So, to be in Autism Acceptance Month and to have the Eagles at the TODAY Show; it's really a call to action. This is something that we hope to model and invite everyone to join along this journey with us."

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