SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 9th Annual Stepping out for Autism gala was held Saturday night at The Springfield History Museum.

Hundreds gathered to enjoy fun at the museum to support a serious cause.

Autism Connections was founded in 1989 by parents of children with autism and has served thousands of families who deal with the complications of autism. The organization works closely with western Massachusetts families to provide a variety of services that include social skills groups, in-home support, and parent training’s.

The Stepping Out for Autism gala helps the organization raise money to support the services they provide for families. Autism Connections works with more than 2000 families in western Massachusetts.

Easthampton Program Manager, Katie Drumm told 22News, “I feel like every time we’re out in the community and talking about what we do there’s always somebody that says oh my cousin or my brother or neighbors friend’s has autism so it’s something that impacts almost everyone we know.”

One in 68 U.S. children have an autism spectrum disorder.

One Springfield resident who’s son has autism told 22News about the role Autism Connections plays in their families life. “We feel the warm approach they give to us and it’s amazing,” said Magdalia Rivera. “Before this journey started we felt alone, and they are helping us achieve the goals we had established for our son they’ve been amazing.”

The fundraiser allowed guests access to the museum exhibits and live and silent auctions.

22News Anchor Rich Tettemer was the MC of Saturday night’s event.

Last year’s gala raised $45,000. The organization hopes to raise even more money at this years event.