Local event gets international attention


 - ANCA founders Lenora Gregory-Collura and Charlie Collura are pictured with Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons at the international Naturally Autistic people awards and convention kick-off June 18 in Langdale. - Photo submitted
Photo submitted – ANCA founders Lenora Gregory-Collura and Charlie Collura are pictured with Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons at the international Naturally Autistic people awards and convention kick-off June 18 in Langdale.
JULY 9, 2011

Understanding the autistic mind from the inside out is what one Coast organization is striving to do both locally and internationally.

The 2011 international Naturally Autistic people awards and convention kick-off was held on the Sunshine Coast June 18.

The event was attended by ANCA facilitators, directors, community members and families as well as representatives from local government, including Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River – Sunshine Coast, Gibsons Coun. LeeAnn Johnson and Michele Haddon from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Naturally Autistic ANCA is a Langdale-based company founded in 1995 by Charlie Collura and Leonora Gregory-Collura. The company works with the communication process that autistic children, teens and adults naturally have. By supporting the processes, inappropriate behaviours dissipate.

Additionally, Collura and Gregory-Collura formed the ANCA foundation in 1998 to provide further support through information, education and public awareness. Both Gregory-Collura and her son, Anthony, are autistic.

Although held locally, the kick-off event had an international presence.

Gregory-Collura said a live radio show was run during the event, enabling Dr. Temple Grandin, official international ambassador for the company, to participate. Grandin, a well-known doctor of animal science and a bestselling author, is autistic and has been noted for her work in autism advocacy.

In addition to the radio show, the event included a barbecue, live music, swimming and games for children and a silent auction.

Gregory-Collura said the event was a success and was impressed with the donations received for the silent auction fundraiser.

“The local community here, the business community as well as the international community were incredible,” she said. “It wasn’t about us reaching out to community, it was about community wanting to reach out to us. It was community wanting to come in with us.”

The event raised $1,000, but was more than just a fundraising event, as the kick-off helped raise awareness about autism.


Published in The Local newspaper July 14, 2011 – Support pours in for ANCA – Thank you for running the article about our company and event. The event that took place in Langdale on June 18, 2011 was the ‘Kick-Off’ to our 2011 2nd annual International Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention, which will be held Sept 23 -25, 2011 in West and North Vancouver.

During our kick-off event, Dr. Temple Grandin called in via telephone to interact with our guests, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages sent in a letter on behalf of Prime Minister Harper in support of our event and The Ministry of Children and Family Development announced their partnership with Naturally Autistic ANCA.

This year our Awards and Convention welcomes representatives from Canada, USA, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, India and New Zealand. It is a great opportunity for families to learn about the great things autistic people ‘can’ and ‘are’ accomplishing throughout the world. Families on the Sunshine Coast wanting to register please visitwww.naturallyautistic.com Registration forms are also available at the ANCA Store in Molly’s Lane in Lower Gibsons
Charlie Collura

June 18, 2011 – KICK-OFF – 2011 2nd annual International Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention – Many more photos below at end of the blog… as well as the international radio show held during the KICk-OFF with Dr. Temple Grandin our Official International Ambassador…



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Yesterday was a historical day for autistic people and their families, not just here in British Columbia, or for Canadians alone, but for our growing Global Autistic Community! During our LIVE radio broadcast, Naturally Autistic Radio – Autistic People, People First, Dr. Temple Grandin,Official Ambassador for our awards thanked us for the opportunity as well as sharing her focus and message on supporting the strengths and abilities of autistic people, coming together.

The Right Honorable James Moore, P.C., M.P., Minister for Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Canadian Regional Minister for British Columbia wrote a greetings to all involved for the KICK-OFF and upcoming awards & convention for this coming September’s 2nd annual international event. He added that he is looking forward to hearing of the success of our KICK-OFF today and that he looks forward to many more years of the annual International naturally Autistic People AWARDS and Convention. The Right Honorable James Moore wrote on behalf of the Canadian Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Stephen Harper and on behalf of the Canadian Government. You may read all the official letters for the KICk-OFF on our website by clicking the links which will be up this week.

The letters that came in did not stop with Minister James Moore – I read from a message from the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, the Minister of Parliament from the West Vancouver, Sea to Sky Country, Sunshine Coast to Powell River, John Weston, M.P. and Nicholas Simons MLA Sunshine Coast to Powell River. 

As the radio show progressed and the ANCA famiies and local community arrived for the KICK-OFF we were blessed with the attendance of our Deputy Mayor Lee Ann Johnson who later cut the KICK-OFF cake with our MLA Nicholas Simons with some of the children from ANCA families surrounding the cake cutting.

During the official messages part of the ceremony and the radio show, Michele Haddon, Liaison for the Ministry for Children and families gave a wonderful speech, announcing partnership with Naturally Autistic ANCA and MCFD toward the 2011 2nd annual International Naturally Autistic People Awards and Convention.

The local community in attendance with our ANCA families, the officials and the wonderful music played by local performers from the Sunshine Coast, as well as the great barbecue and food provided by our families made for a really exciting and wonderful, memorable KICK-OFF event.

We have the most amazing spread of gifts supplied to the silent auction by many sponsors for the KICK-OFF event – we will have more events and silent auction opportunities leading up to the awards,

giving everyone in our international community an opportunity to “get involved”! To participate we will provide the photos and sign-up sheet together with paypal and credit card payment opportunities. ~ To top off the event we found out that it was the birthday of one of the father’s attending, and so we celebrated with another cake cutting.

Enjoy these great photos, there are more coming and more links to share… stay tuned to this blog post this week 🙂 Leo Gregory, on behalf of the 2011 2nd annual International Naturally Autistic People AWARDS & Convention.