Birchtree Center Celebrates 20 Years of Autism Programs with Oct. 1 Benefit for Learning Auction in Eliot, Maine

Portsmouth, NH, Monday, September 26, 2022–The Birchtree Center is celebrating its 20th birthday with a fundraising auction on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Regatta Room in Eliot, Maine. Proceeds go to the nonprofit’s programs serving children and youth with autism in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.

The Birchtree Center first opened its doors in Portsmouth in December 2002 as a tiny school serving just two students with autism. It was the first and only New Hampshire school serving students with autism exclusively–a distinction that continues to this day. Birchtree’s day school now enrolls 36 students, who travel as much as two hours per day to attend the intensive, year-round program. 

Over the past 15 years, the Birchtree Center has expanded its offerings into local public schools. Last year Birchtree’s staff traveled 36,070 miles to provide training, consultation, and services for public-school students with autism. “These days, over half the students we work with never enter Birchtree’s school building,” says Executive Director Sandra Pierce-Jordan. “We’re proud to help these students be successful in their local schools.” 

The Birchtree Center also offers educational programs for parents, educators and caregivers. Coming up next is an admission-free online Autism Q&A for parents on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 6-7 p.m. Registration is required at

Every bid in Birchtree’s Benefit for Learning helps underwrite supplies and equipment for the nonprofit’s autism programs. Bidders can choose from 351 prizes, including beer, wine, chocolate, home furnishings, golf excursions, ski lift tickets, student art and restaurant gift cards. Several vacation packages are also up for bid, including five nights at the Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort in Belize.

In addition to live, silent and online auctions and raffles, the Oct. 1 Benefit for Learning features appetizers, drinks, desserts, and live entertainment. Musician Elijah Clark starts the evening with his solo act combining rock, R&B, and country. Following the live auction, American Ride’s guitar duo closes the evening with modern country and other danceable hits.

Admission tickets are $30 per person and may be purchased online or at the door. Online auction bidding is available now through Thursday, Sept. 29. Information and tickets are at or 603-433-4192.

About The Birchtree Center

Since 2002, the nonprofit Birchtree Center has promoted independence, engaging relationships and productive lives for children and youth with autism at home, at school and in the community. Twenty-one public school districts in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts send students to attend Birchtree’s year-round special-educational day school in Portsmouth, which serves students with autism in grades preK-12. The organization’s Outreach Program offers consultation, assessments, teacher training and direct services in public schools. The organization is named after the New Hampshire state tree, the white birch. This shallow-rooted tree often grows in clusters to survive—like a birch tree, a child with autism needs to be supported by family and community to grow and flourish. Stay updated on Birchtree Center events and news on our Facebook page: