Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co-founder of Pacific Autism Family Network, speaks during the grand opening of their new location in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

New centre opens in Chilliwack to help people on the autism spectrum

The Pacific Autism Family Network opened its Fraser Valley location in downtown Chilliwack

People who have loved ones on the autism spectrum have a bigger family now, thanks to a new centre which opened in Chilliwack this week.

The Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) opened its fourth location on Tuesday to offer support for people in the Fraser Valley. The new centre, located in downtown Chilliwack, will offer services that include education, training and support for people with autism and their families.

“I’m so thrilled that the network is now in Chilliwack, the resources are closer to home and that we’re going to be able to serve people of Chilliwack so much superior than what we have been in the past,” said Chilliwack MLA John Martin.

“I guarantee you will have families moving to Chilliwack because of this centre and because of your community,” said Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co-founder of PAFN.

PAFN board member Peter Raptis said the geographic location of Chilliwack is “not just strategic but very critical” because it will serve people in the Fraser Valley and in areas in between their three other locations: Richmond, Prince George and Kelowna.

“[Chilliwack] is the second largest city in the Fraser Valley Regional District and this hub really acts as a key connector to our hub-and-spoke system of what we have with PAFN. Our goal is to connect all people in British Columbia… so we can service as many families across the province as possible,” Raptis said.

The PAFN opened its first location in Richmond in 2016 and has been supported by the Saccomano family even before that.

Steve Saccomano, who is a parent of a child with autism, started an annual fundraiser golf tournament in 2014 to raise money for the PAFN. Funds raised during the annual Saccomanicas Golf Tournament (held this year in August in Pitt Meadows) helped to make the Chilliwack location possible.

“This network is only possible if a community steps up, and a community stepping up is only possible if there’s leadership, and here you sure have leadership. The PAFN spoke here in Chilliwack is blessed with the fantastic leadership of the Saccomano family,” Lisogar-Cocchia said.

People don’t have to have a diagnosis or have autism to come into the centre and use its services. The PAFN helps people with any sort of challenge who needs support.

The Pacific Autism Family Network – Fraser Valley Spoke is located at 46151 Yale Rd. in Chilliwack.

RELATED: Understanding autism from the inside out

RELATED: Teen racing to raise autism awareness stops by Lower Mainland schools

RELATED: Fight for autism diagnosis arduous for adults in B.C.


 

@PhotoJennalism
jenna.hauck@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Steve Saccomano speaks during the grand opening of the new Pacific Autism Family Network location in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Sergio Cocchia board chair of the Pacific Autism Family Network speaks during the grand opening of their new Chilliwack location on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co-founder of Pacific Autism Family Network speaks during the grand opening of their new location in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

People tour the new Pacific Autism Family Network location during its grand opening in Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Chilliwack youth coach sexual touching decision scheduled for Monday

BC Supreme Court justice scheduled to rule on Codie Anderson case Feb. 24

Chilliwack wades into backyard chickens in urban areas

Permit came with several conditions and can be reconsidered by council

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read