Seahawks Open A-OK Sensory Room At CenturyLink Field

Beginning this year, CenturyLink Field will offer a safe and calming environment for those who need to escape the noise and excitement that comes with the Seahawks gameday experience.

Spearheaded by Traci Schneider, the wife of Seahawks general manager John Schneider, CenturyLink Field now has the A-OK Sensory Room for fans with autism, sensory challenges or PTSD who may be feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated. The sensory room, which is located at GuestLink on the Southwest Field PLaza, will be open for all full stadium events. Children using the room must be accompanied by an adult.

The addition of the A-OK Sensory Room is just the latest contribution to the autism community made by the Schneiders, whose son Ben was diagnosed with Autism almost 15 years ago. Since 2012, their annual Prime Time celebrity waiter event has raised more than $4.25 million for Ben’s Fund, the Schneiders’ non-profit that gives grants to families affected by autism. In 2015, the Seahawks Women’s Association partnered with A-OK Autism to provide toolkits for fans on the autism spectrum that include noise cancelling headphones, ear plugs, sensory toys and an “I’m A-OK” identifier badge.

“John and I are immersed in the autism world, and this has been on our radar ever since our son was diagnosed almost 15 years ago,” Traci Schneider said. “… We did feel like this is the next step in the process, because we want to be inclusive. We want to be a stadium where our fans felt welcome, and give them a space and an opportunity, if they are getting overwhelmed—we all know that CenturyLink is very loud and very high sensory—so just give them a space to have that moment and to come back down so they can rejoin our gameday and be part of it.”

The Seahawks were the first team to offer the sensory kits, but several other NFL teams have recently added sensory rooms, something Traci Schneider sees as an encouraging trend.

“I love where we’re all going and what we’re all doing and how we’re all trying to be a little bit more inclusive and supportive to all of our fans,” she said.

Seahawks And Ben's Fund Announce Efforts To Support Autism Awareness Month

RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks and Ben's Fund, founded by John and Traci Schneider in 2012, announce efforts to support Autism Awareness Month.

In partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington, Ben's Fund provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. Through the Seahawks Women's Association's annual Prime Time celebrity waiter event, community support and additional donations, the efforts have raised more than $3.5 million and provided more than 1,800 grants to families in the state of Washington.

Last year, Ben's Fund began offering grants to 19-23 year olds to help with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. These funds help support education, job training, life skills, and social skills.

"Over the past year, we've been thrilled to review applications from this transitional, young adult age group," said Traci Schneider. "Along with awarding grants, we have increased our involvement with other providers throughout the autism community, specifically supporting young adults. It's exciting to see the expanding opportunities available."

Throughout the month of April, the Seahawks will donate 10% of sales for every regular priced Seahawks hat and knit cap sold at The Pro Shop stores to Ben's Fund,in support of Autism Awareness Month. The four retail stores are located at CenturyLink Field, downtown Seattle, Renton Landing and Alderwood Mall. Fans will also be able to make an in-store donation at checkout.

The team will also launch an online charity auction that offers Seahawks memorabilia with 100% of proceeds designated for Ben's Fund. The online charity auction will run from Tuesday, April 2 to Thursday, April 11, at Seahawks.com/BensFund. The items include the following:

  • Seahawks Legend Walter Jones #71 autographed Authentic Game Jersey

  • Seahawks LB K.J. Wright #50 autographed Official NFL Game Football

  • Seahawks QB Russell Wilson #3 autographed Replica Jersey

Throughout the first week of April, the arch lights on the roof of CenturyLink Field will be blue as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign to support autism awareness.

The Seahawks Women's Association continue to provide toolkits to make CenturyLink Field and gameday activities more user-friendly for fans on the spectrum. The toolkits include noise canceling headphones, earplugs, sensory toys, detailed schedule and identifier badge. Fans can pick-up the toolkit at Guestlink located in the Field Plaza just south of The Pro Shop on the Field Level. The NFL has adopted this program at the Pro Bowl. Kits are also available to fans attending Training Camp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Fans are encouraged to bring awareness and support to @FEATofWA by tagging photos of @CenturyLink_Fld blue arches with #LIUB (Light It Up Blue) and #BensFund.

To apply, make a donation or for more information, visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

John & Traci Schneider Host Seventh Annual Prime Time Celebrity Waiter Dinner To Raise Money For Ben’s Fund

Not long after John Schneider moved back to Seattle to become the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, he went to Brotherton Cadillac’s Celebrity Steak-Out, an event that raises money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Schneider was blown away by the generosity he saw on display that night in 2010.

On Thursday night, for the seventh straight year, John and Traci Schneider witnessed a similar level of generosity as they hosted Prime Time, a celebrity waiter event that raises money for their nonprofit, Ben’s Fund, which gives grants to families affected by autism.

“When I moved here in 2010, Brad Brotherton and his wife Amy had an event for cancer research—his father was sick at the time—and he asked me to go to it and help out,” Schneider said. “And I was just floored by the community and, quite frankly, the amount of money people were giving. It was amazing. I remember going home that night and telling Traci, ‘When you move out here, we’ve got to get this rolling again.’

“There’s so much need for it, people are starving for help. We’re cruising along in this entertainment business, basically, and this is real life. It’s real life for Traci and I every day, and there are so many families that need help. Honestly we feel like we can’t do enough. I’m just really proud of Traci for everything she does. I don’t have a ton to do with it, Traci really handles everything—I get jerseys and stuff. There are just so many people who are giving of their time and money to help all these families.”

With dozens of Seahawks players serving as waiters, the dinner, silent auction and live auction raised over $630,000 for Ben’s Fund Thursday, bringing the total raised for Ben’s Fund to more than $3.5 million since 2012.

“We’re blown away,” Traci Schneider said. “We never thought it would flourish and turn into what it is. The fact that we’ve been able to reach so many families and help them on their journeys is a gift for us. We’re just thankful to have all the support from the community and the Seahawks and the Seahawks Women’s Association. We’re just very, very thankful.”

Because of the success the Schneiders have had raising money and growing Ben’s Fund, the organization is broadening its scope this year, awarding grants to 19-23 year olds.

“We’re so grateful we’re even in the position to expand Ben’s Fund and do the young adult grants from 19 to 23, and how important that age group and how underserved it is,” Traci Schneider said. “There’s a lot of things coming into play now, but there needs to be a lot more to really serve this age group of kids. Because you’re leaving the school district, you’re leaving all of the supports you had growing up, and now what? Do you go to further education? How do you get job training? How do you get a job? Where are you going to live? So we’re offering those things. We’re offering job training, education, social skills and life skills with this young adult grant to try to help set those kids up to be successful in their adult lives.”

Thursday night’s event at El Gaucho in Bellevue featured not just current players, including Pro Bowlers like Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett, but also a number of former players in attendance, including the entire 2005 offensive line that helped pave the way for one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history.

“We were talking last night at dinner, we don’t get together as much as we should,” former All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson said. “… I’ll take any excuse we can get to get together. It’s fun. That group has had a lot of good times together.”

At one point before dinner, young Seahawks tackle George Fant was engaged in a long conversation with Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones and current Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown, a four-time Pro Bowler.

Told he was keeping good company, Fant smiled and said, “I know, I’m just trying to soak in as much as I can.”

In addition to the auctions, another way money is raised at this event is through “Ben’s Bucks” which attendees can purchase for $12 each. Players then compete with each other to earn the most Ben’s Bucks, charging various prices for everything from autographs to pictures to facetiming with a guest’s friend or family member not in attendance. Unlike in years past where position groups have competed with each other to raise the most Ben’s Bucks, this year it was offense vs. defense, and the offense, led by Wilson, who is quite popular at this event, won that competition. At one point early in the festivities, Wilson had a long line of people waiting for a chance at a picture or autograph as he announced prices, saying “Get yours now, it only gets more expensive as the night goes on.”

During the live auction, guests bid on everything from a trip on the team’s charter flight to a road game to tickets to Seattle’s game in London to a cameo role on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm to a painting made by the Schneiders’ 16-year-old son, Ben, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and is the inspiration behind Ben’s Fund. For that item, Ben’s younger brother, Jack, took over as guest auctioneer, drawing big cheers after the painting sold for $6,500. That item capped an auction in which hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated in a matter of minutes, just another example of the generosity John Schneider first saw in this region eight years ago.

“It’s very humbling to see everybody step forward, the Seahawks fans, the people who come and support us in the community,” he said. “It’s just amazing. It’s a very giving community. We realized that several years ago when we moved back. So yeah, it’s very humbling.”

Seahawks Announce Activities In Support Of Autism Awareness Month

RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks announced today the team will donate 10% of sales for every regular priced hat and knit cap sold in April at Seahawks retail stores to Ben's Fund,in support of Autism Awareness Month. The four retail stores are located at CenturyLink Field, downtown Seattle, Renton Landing and Alderwood Mall. Fans will also be able to make an in-store donation at checkout.

The team launched an online charity auction that offers one-of-a-kind Seahawks memorabilia with 100% of proceeds designated for Ben's Fund. The online charity auction will run from Tuesday, April 4 to Thursday, April 13. Fans can also make a cash donation through the site. Visit Auctions.Seahawks.com and click the tab "Ben's Fund". The items will include the following:

#31 Kam Chancellor autographed football
#3 Russell Wilson autographed replica helmet
#16 Tyler Lockett autographed Action Green replica jersey

In 2012, John and Traci launched "Ben's Fund" in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington. Named after their oldest son who was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old, Ben's Fund provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. With the support of the Seahawks and community, they have collaborated to raise more than $2 million and provided over 900 grants to families in the state of Washington.

n 2015, the Seahawks announced a partnership with Autism Friendly Locations to provide toolkits to make CenturyLink Field and gameday activities more user friendly for fans on the spectrum. The toolkits include noise cancelling headphones, earplugs, sensory toys, detailed schedule and identifier badge. Fans can pick-up the toolkit at guest services located in the Field Plaza just south of The Pro Shop on the Field Level. The NFL adopted the program at this year's Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Throughout the first week of April, the arch lights on the roof of CenturyLink Field will be blue as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign. Bring awareness and support to @FEATofWA by tagging photos of @CenturyLink_Fld blue arches with #LIUB (Light It Up Blue) and #BensFund. For more information, visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

About Ben's Fund

"Ben's Fund" provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. For more information, visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

About Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington

FEAT of Washington is a non-profit organization that strives to reach families with a child or children on the autism spectrum, providing support, guidance and resources for families in the community. For the past 15 years, FEAT has been developing, creating and inspiring autism programming for Washington's children solely to achieve one purpose - to help those children reach their full potential. Visit featwa.org to learn more.

Seahawks Announce Activities in Support of Autism Awareness Month

RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks announced today the team will donate 10% of sales for every regular priced hat and knit cap sold in April at Seahawks retail stores to Ben's Fund, in support of Autism Awareness Month. 

The four retail stores are located at CenturyLink Field, downtown Seattle, Renton Landing and Alderwood Mall. Fans will also be able to make an in-store donation at check-out.

Ben's Fund was launched in 2012 by Seahawks Executive Vice President/General Manager John Schneider and his wife, Traci, in honor of their son, Ben, who was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. Ben's Fund is managed in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT). 

Ben's Fund provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. Through the end of 2015, more than $400,000 has been distributed to 500 families in the State of Washington.

This year, Ben's Fund and FEAT hope to distribute 400 Microsoft Surface Tablets free of charge to eligible families thanks to the generosity of Microsoft employees. From March 14-April 15, families can apply online at http://www.featwa.org/microsoft-surface-giveaway.

Last fall, the Seahawks announced a partnership with Autism Friendly Locations to provide toolkits to make CenturyLink Field and gameday activities more user friendly for fans on the spectrum. The toolkits include noise cancelling headphones, ear plugs, sensory toys, detailed schedule and identifier badge. Fans can pick-up the toolkit at guest services located in the Field Plaza just south of The Pro Shop on the Field Level.

Throughout the first week of April, the arch lights on the roof of CenturyLink Field will be blue as part of the Light It Up Blue campaign. Bring awareness to the Twitter conversation and support @FEATofWA by tagging photos of @CenturyLink_Fld blue arches with #LIUB (Light It Up Blue) and #BensFund. 

For more information visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

About Ben's Fund

"Ben's Fund" provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. For more information visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

About Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington

FEAT of Washington is a non-profit organization that strives to reach families with a child or children on the autism spectrum, providing support, guidance and resources for families in the community. For the past 15 years, FEAT has been developing, creating and inspiring autism programming for Washington's children solely to achieve one purpose - to help those children reach their full potential. Visit featwa.org to learn more.

Seahawks announce online auction benefit Ben's Fund

 

RENTON, Wash. - The Seahawks announced today an online auction with 100% of the proceeds dedicated to "Ben's Fund".  The online auction begins on April 13 and will run through May 1, 2015.
 
Auction Items Available April 13-19, 2015

  • Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson #3 Autographed Authentic NFL Football
  • Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman #25 Autographed Authentic NFL Football
  • Seattle Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin #51 Autographed Replica Jersey

 Auction Items Available April 20-26, 2015

  • Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Commemorative Football Autographed by Various Players
  • Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Practice Used Football
  • Seattle Seahawks Game Used Football (10/14/2014 vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Auction Items Available April 27 – May 1, 2015

  • Seattle Seahawks Game Used Football (11/27/2014 vs. San Francisco 49ers)
  • Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson #3 Autographed Authentic NFL Football
  • Seattle Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor #31 Autographed Authentic NFL Football

A minimum opening bid is set at $250.  Fans will be able to bid on the items from April 13-May 1, 2015.

About Ben’s Fund

“Ben’s Fund” provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum.  For more information visit Seahawks.com/BensFund.

About Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington

FEAT of Washington is a non-profit organization that strives to reach families with a child or children on the autism spectrum, providing support, guidance and resources for families in the community. For the past 15 years, FEAT has been developing, creating and inspiring autism programming for Washington's children solely to achieve one purpose - to help those children reach their full potential.

Seahawks Support Autism Awareness Month

RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks announced today the arch lights on the roof of CenturyLink Field will be among many iconic monuments around the world being illuminated blue to support the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

In addition, the team will donate 10% of sales to "Ben's Fund" for every regular priced hat and knit cap sold during the month of April at the team's four retail stores. The retail stores, known as THE PRO SHOP, are located at CenturyLink Field, 401 Pike Street, The Landing in Renton and Alderwood Mall. 

Ben's Fund, launched in 2012 by Seahawks Executive Vice President/General Manager John Schneider and his wife Traci in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT), provides grants to families across Washington State to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting a child, or children, on the autism spectrum. 

"On average, autism costs a family approximately $60,000 a year," said Seahawks GM John Schneider.  "We created Ben's Fund to help ease the financial stress that impacts families with a child on the spectrum."

Ben's Fund was established at FEAT in order to provide grants to families for their children on the spectrum and to drive families to FEAT so they will be connected to a larger community to receive ongoing guidance and assistance as they continue their journey with autism. One in 68 children and one in 42 boys are affected with autism.

"Through Ben's Fund, we have raised more than $850,000 and distributed more than $400,000 dollars in grants to over 500 families in the state," said Traci Schneider.  "These grants help pay for a variety of therapies, services and even tablets to help with communication."

The primary fundraiser for Ben's Fund is an annual celebrity waiter's event with participation from Seahawks players and coaches.  Prime Time will be held on April 23 at El Gaucho and is sold-out for the fourth consecutive year.


Seahawks GM Schneider's personal cause: autism

RENTON -- The fight against autism has a powerful ally: the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

The team is part of a fundraiser underway to support families with autistic children.

It's a cause close to the team's heart, because autism is a daily reality for the head of the team. General Manger John Schneider and his wife, Traci Schneider, are parents of an autistic child.

"He was diagnosed at three and now he's 12," Traci said of their son, Ben. "It was horrible because you never want to hear something is wrong with your child, and something so big as autism. On the other hand, it was comforting in away because we finally knew what was happening."     

Autistic children have a range of needs.  Many have sensory issues and need in-home swings or trampolines.  Non-verbal children can benefit from using an iPad to communicate. The range of special equipment and therapy can cost families upwards of $60,000 a year. 

Seahawks Increase Autism Awareness Efforts in April

The Seahawks this week announced an online auction with 100 percent of the proceeds dedicated to "Ben's Fund".

Launched in 2012 by Seahawks Executive Vice President/General Manager John Schneider and his wife Traci, "Ben's Fund" was created to provide grants for families supporting a child, or children on the autism spectrum in the state of Washington. Grants can be utilized to cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and other resources.

The online auction begins on April 7 and will feature autograph memorabilia from the Seahawks Super Bowl season, such as: Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Deluxe Replica Helmet signed by Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll or Super Bowl XLVIII Game Program signed by Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin. Detailed information on Ben's Fund and autograph items can be found at Seahawks.com/PrimeTime.