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A Momentous Occasion: Celebrating the Groundbreaking of The Adult Services building

On April 4th, 2022, Els for Autism Foundation® had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. The momentous occasion was the long-awaited groundbreaking for The Stoops Family Foundation Adult Services building at The Els Center of Excellence® campus.  The groundbreaking was attended by the Foundation’s founders, Ernie and Liezl Els, and Marvin R. Shanken, major donors, the press, government officials, employer partners, and many of the Foundation’s Adult Services clients.  “When we heard what this new adult services building would offer, we knew we wanted to be a part of it,” said Jeffery Stoops, a major donor to Els for Autism®. “Usually after a person with autism ages out at twenty-one, services become very short in supply and so does funding to support them. We believe the services adults with autism will be offered in this building will have a miraculous impact on them and give new hope and encouragement to their families.”

The Stoops Family Foundation Adult Services building is targeted for completion in 2023. It will be a 21,000 square-foot facility to serve adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “We are so proud that finally there will be a dedicated building where we can house the variety of services available. It will have the Adult Day Training, Work Experience program, vocational and life skills, and mental health support,” said Liezl Els.

“We are really doing what we can to make autistic kids’ lives very comfortable,” said Ernie Els. “Because we as a society go through our day-to-day stuff but we need to get into the lives of autistic kids, we need to understand what they need. We need this building to happen and with the help of the donors, people who have funded us, we can continue to make the lives of autistic kids as comfortable as they can be.”

The construction of the building comes at an important time because the need for Adult Services, offered by the Foundation, is very high. “With 1 in 44 children being diagnosed with autism every year, we must pause and say to ourselves, these children are going to grow up and they are going to become adults,” said Dr. Marlene Sotelo, Executive Director, Els for Autism. “They deserve a place to be able to continue to grow, to thrive, to connect, learn, be employed, and be able to live as independently as possible. And that is what this building is going to bring forth.”

To learn more about The Stoops Family Foundation Adult Services building or to share the information with others you feel would be interested, visit