The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round, innovative, high quality sports, recreational, social and employment related programs for individuals and families living with autism, while building awareness and capacity through community networks across British Columbia.
The Canucks Autism Network team consists of a diverse group of trained staff, support workers and dedicated volunteers who administer programs for families and individuals living with autism in our province.
The Canucks Autism Network Story
In 1996 Paolo and Clara Aquilini listened in shock and disbelief as medical professionals diagnosed their son with autism.
In the following years Paolo and Clara experienced the trials and triumphs that come with raising a child with autism. They also began to live with the frustration of watching their beloved child struggle to participate in “normal” activities and at times be told that he was simply unable to do so. Autism deeply affects not only the individual who is diagnosed, but also their families. As the rate of occurrence of autism continues to climb and existing programs become increasingly overwhelmed, Paolo and Clara’s hearts and prayers continually go out to other families facing the same turmoil and challenges.
Compelled by the growing need in the community and driven by their own personal experience, Paolo and Clara constantly searched for ways to support families living with autism. It is their profound desire to enhance the quality of life for families living with autism in BC. This vision is the founding inspiration for the Canucks Autism Network and guides the organization in its mission to provide high quality recreational, sports, social and vocational development programs for individuals and families living with autism and to build capacity through community networks across British Columbia.
Message from CAN
Since 2009, the Fishing for Kids Tournament (FFK) has provided unwavering support to Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and the thousands of BC families living with autism who benefit from CAN’s existence.
Thanks to major supporters like FFK, CAN has grown over the past decade from a small, grassroots autism charity, to the leader and change maker that it is today. Through program delivery, CAN is empowering children, youth and young adults with autism to learn new skills, challenge their limits and thrive. Through family events, CAN is connecting families who were once isolated and alone to a vital community of support. And through training and community engagement initiatives, CAN is paving the way to a future where every individual with autism is understood, accepted, and supported in all community spaces.
On behalf of everyone at Canucks Autism Network, thank you to the Fishing for Kids Tournament participants, sponsors and organizers. Together, you are creating a brighter future for all individuals with autism and their families.