Villa Park charity Friends of Freya gives out tablets to families with autistic kids

Villa Park charity Friends of Freya gives out tablets to families with autistic kids

  • Freya Guest, middle, gets a hug from Minnie and Mickey Mouse along with her cousin, Addie Thon, left, and sister Layla, right.

    Freya Guest, middle, gets a hug from Minnie and Mickey Mouse along with her cousin, Addie Thon, left, and sister Layla, right. courtesy of Billy Guest

 
 
Posted8/8/2022 6:00 AM

Billy Guest's daughter Freya is nonverbal autistic. But thanks to therapy and technology in the form of her tablet, she is learning and thriving.

That inspired Guest, who lives in Villa Park, to start a 501c3 charity in 2020, Friends of Freya, to make sure other kids who are autistic can thrive.

 

"Freya, my 5-year-old, is autistic, and seeing her learn so much by using technology has given me so much hope for her and other kids like her," Guest said in an email. "I feel it is important for these kids to have all the tools they need to succeed."

Last year, the charity gave out 60 tablets to kids on the spectrum, and hope to hand out even more after its second annual fundraiser Thursday, Aug. 11.

Families who would like to apply for a tablet can do so online at friendsoffreya.org.

Besides the technology, Friends of Freya also helps families with bonding experiences by paying for tickets for various outings.

Guest talks about the organization and the upcoming benefit.

Q: What is the Friends of Freya? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A: Friends of Freya is a 501c3 charity that helps raise funds to help children with autism.

We help children with autism throughout Illinois receive tablets to help with learning and communication. Last year, we were able to help 60 kids receive tablets.

We also help families of autistic children with outings and family bonding experiences like Great America tickets or Santa's Village.

Young Melanie is one of the recipients of a tablet from the organization Friends of Freya. The charity gives out tablets to help kids who are autistic.
Young Melanie is one of the recipients of a tablet from the organization Friends of Freya. The charity gives out tablets to help kids who are autistic. - courtesy of Billy Guest

Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?

A: We receive the majority of our funds from our annual fundraiser and local people

Q: How many people per year do you serve?

A: Between 60 and 100.

Q: What are some of your programs?

A: Our tablet program is our main one, and we are working on growing our family outing program to have more outings and adventures for families who have a child or children with autism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: Tell us about the upcoming fundraiser.

A: This year we are having our silent auction fundraising event from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at Fuel and Crème, 324 E. Central Blvd., Villa Park. Tickets are $5.

The event will feature a live DJ, a photo booth and special guests Mickey and Minnie Mouse. While enjoying this event, people can bid on silent auction items or try our gift card pull, which is a board with various gift cards ranging from $25-$100 from local stores.

Tenor proudly shows off his new tablet, which he received from Friends of Freya. Billy Guest of Villa Park started the organization in honor of his nonverbal autistic daughter, Freya, who thrived with the technology.
Tenor proudly shows off his new tablet, which he received from Friends of Freya. Billy Guest of Villa Park started the organization in honor of his nonverbal autistic daughter, Freya, who thrived with the technology. - courtesy of Billy Guest

Q: How can people participate?

A: They can go to www.eventbrite.com/e/374659626027 to buy tickets.

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: Visit friendsoffreya.org for donation options.

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: Freya has made so much progress with therapy and her tablet. That it is what encouraged me to start this charity, so more families can afford a tablet, which I feel is an essential learning tool for children with autism.

• • •

Friends of Freya

What: Second annual silent auction to raise funds to give out tablets to families that have kids with autism.

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11

Where: Fuel and Crème, 324 E. Central Blvd., Villa Park

Cost: Tickets are $5 at www.eventbrite.com/e/374659626027 or friendsoffreya.org

Details: friendsoffreya.org

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.