Autism center, arts council hope to win Cars for Good

djournal-ToyotaBy Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

Two Northeast Mississippi nonprofits have a shot at driving away with new Toyotas.

The Autism Center of North Mississippi and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council were chosen to participate in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good giveaway.

Each day until Nov. 19, five nonprofits from across the country square off in online voting. The top two vote-getters receive a new Toyota. The other three receive $1,000 grants.

Last year, Oxford-based Teach for America won a car to allow its instructional coaches to travel to schools in the Delta where its young teachers are stationed.

The Tupelo-based Autism Center will be up for voting on Tuesday. If it comes out on top, the center hopes to receive a Sienna van, said John Oxford, who serves as the center’s board chairman.

Currently, therapists on the center’s staff travel to schools to train teachers about working with autistic children and to the homes of their clients who can’t come to the center for therapy.

“Right now our employees have to use their own vehicles,” Oxford said. A van would allow them to more easily move around equipment for therapy as well as spare the wear and tear on their personal cars.

The Oxford-based arts council hopes to use a new Toyota to take its arts program beyond its Powerhouse headquarters. That’s especially important because arts programs have been curtailed or eliminated in many schools because of budget cuts, said Stacey Sanford, an Americorps Vista volunteer working as the education and outreach coordinator.

“We’re the only arts council in the Southeast,” included in the 100 Cars for Good, Sanford said.

Click video to hear audio