Autism center receives car, grant from Toyota

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com Larry Brymer, General Manager of Carlock Toyota, presents a key on the behalf of Toyota to Brittany Cuevas, Director of Business Development of the Atusim Center of North Mississippi.

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Larry Brymer, General Manager of Carlock Toyota, presents a key on the behalf of Toyota to Brittany Cuevas, Director of Business Development of the Atusim Center of North Mississippi.

By Michaela Gibson Morris

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Autism Center of North Mississippi is going places with help from Toyota.

During a Tuesday presentation at Carlock Toyota, the nonprofit agency took possession of the new Toyota Prius the center won as part of a 100 Cars for Good giveaway this fall and received a $20,000 grant from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.

“It’s a blessing,” said Brittany Cuevas, director of business development for the autism center, which provides services on a sliding scale to children with autism and their families as well as services contracted through schools.

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com Matt Davison, clinical director of the Autism Center of North Mississippi, signs a commemorative key as the center takes possession of the Prius it won.

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Matt Davison, clinical director of the Autism Center of North Mississippi, signs a commemorative key as the center takes possession of the Prius it won.

The $20,000 grant is part of the community support the Toyota plant in Blue Springs allocates each quarter. The grant will support the center’s ability to provide services to families who can’t afford to pay $50 an hour to receive therapy. Mississippi is one of three states that doesn’t cover therapy services for children with autism through Medicaid.

“Toyota Mississippi is very committed to education in the region,” said Jackie Hogan, general manager for human resources at the Toyota plant.

To win a vehicle in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good, the autism center had to finish in the top two places out of five nonprofit agencies in daily voting.

“It’s a testament to all the connections people have in Tupelo,” said John Oxford, volunteer board president for the autism center.

The Prius will be used by autism center staff members who travel the region to deliver assessments, therapy and teach training at area schools and provide in-home services for those children who can’t come into the Tupelo center.

The center was one of three Mississippi nonprofit agencies selected from the 3,500 who applied to compete in Facebook voting. The Gulf Coast Women’s Center won a van. The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council in Oxford didn’t win a vehicle, but will receive a $1,000 grant.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com