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)

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 Fraser Valley 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 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

 

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

People tour the new Pacific Autism Family Network location during its grand opening in Chilliwack on Tuesday. (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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Just Posted

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

An electric vehicle charging station in front of Hope’s municipal hall, district hall. (Photo: Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
40 electric vehicle charging stations planned for Surrey

Funding coming from all three levels of government

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

Most Read