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Auburn family, PBD to hold benefit for Zach

Posted on June 10, 2010

Therese Verzosa clearly sees the gains in her autistic son each day.

“Zachary is improving,” she said. “The program has allowed Zachary to be himself. He is actually going to be teaching us the way on how to come into his world.”

Verzosa, a registered nurse by profession, has devoted considerable time and effort toward understanding autism and finding ways to help her 6-year-old son.

The Lakeland Hills family is doing more at home, involving an innovative child-centered program. They also have reached out to the community for support.

To help their cause and promote autism awareness, the Verzosa family and the Pacific Ballroom Dance will hold a special fundraiser Saturday. The Professional Ballroom & Latin Show: Steps Toward Healing: An Autism Awareness & Fundraiser Event will unfold at 6 p.m. at the PBD studio, located at 1604 15th St. SW, Auburn.

The program will feature nationally ranked rhythm champions F.J. and Catherine Abaya; U.S. 9 dance finalists and ballroom champions Nathan Simler and Lecie Mcnees; the PBD formation team; and a special performance by “4 of a Kind.”

Proceeds will support Zachary’s autism program.

“This is spectacular … their willingness to do this,” Verzosa said.

Therese and her husband, Jude, a physician, were introduced to Son-Rise – a stimulating, high-energy, one-on-one, home-based program. The program, provided by the Autism Treatment Center of America, provides training for parents and professionals caring for autistic children. The program places parents as key teachers, therapists and directors of their own programs and uses the home as the most nurturing environment in which to help their children

The program appears to be working. Verzosa hopes other families and their autistic children will discover the program benefits.

“The program is based on love, total acceptance and no judgement,” Verzosa said. “It was so basic, accepting the child as who he is.”

Tickets for the dance are $25 at the door.

For more information, contact Therese Verzosa at 253-228-7571, or E.J. or Catherine Abaya at 206-769-7350,