Community Breakfast

Benefits SARRC

text by Kathryn Brooks   photos by Ben Arnold

Upper, left: Ian McCoy, speaker. Middle, left: Denise Resnik and Dr. Daniel Openden. Upper, right: Stephanie King, speaker. Bottom: Left to right; Stephanie Papadopoulos, Eleni Papadopoulos, Raun Melmed and Susie Papadopoulos.

On April 26, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center ( SARRC) hosted its 20th annual Community Breakfast at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. Co-chaired by Stephanie Papadopoulos and Kathy Bosco, over 1,600 supporters filled the ballroom.

SARRC’s mission is to better understand, treat and improve life for people with autism by providing a lifetime of support, conducting research and educating the public. Currently, the nonprofit is enrolling children 16-30 months in a clinical trial that may lead to the development of new methods of diagnosing ASD in toddlers.

The speakers included Dr. Daniel Openden, SARRC’s president and CEO; Christopher J. Smith, research director; and Amy Kenzer, clinical director. They shared the recent achievements in detection including a new study to validate a devise that tracks the eye contact of children between the ages of 16 and 30 months.

Top, left: Left to right; Brenda Edwards, Gary Jaburg, Mitch Reichman and Larry Hirsch. Top, right: Left to right; Cindy Sanders, Doug Sanders, Bob Emmelkamp, Howard Sobelman and Jim Waring. Bottom: Left to right; Lisa Mascaro, Marea Bryson, Tiffani Sproul, Joyce Mercado and Courtney Konderik.

The event, themed With You, We Can, recognized the extraordinary impact the community has made on individuals with autism and their families since the organization’s first Community Breakfast  in 1997.

“A supportive community is about having high expectations for people with autism by giving them community-based opportunities to learn and then providing the individualized supports they need to fully participate in the classroom, compete on the field and be productive on the job,” shared Openden. “And a supportive community is about everyday, lasting, meaningful learning experiences that create independence.”

The Community Breakfast is SARRC’s signature fundraising event. All proceeds support SARRC’s mission to advance research and provide a lifetime of support for individuals with autism and their families.

For more information, visit