Some Bunny Loves You Egg Hunt

All in Need’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt celebrates Spring by offering an unique egg hunt for children with special needs and their families. This event welcomes 50 children to participate in finding 1,200 eggs and each child who attends will receive an Easter Basket to bring home!

 

LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I’m excited to share some changes at All in Need that will help us grow as we move forward. I’m pleased to announce that Kirstin McGrath is joining the AiN team as Program Director. She brings with her 500 hours of volunteer experience with pediatric therapy clinics, a hippotherapy clinic, and overnight camps for children with Autism.  Kirstin’s long term goal is to open her own therapy clinic as an Occupational Therapist. You have likely already met Kirstin over the past few months, as she has been involved in our programs and special events, so she is probably already a familiar face.

Seeing someone in the Program Director role has been a goal of ours for a long time, as it will allow me to expand into the Executive Director. In fact, now that will be my full time role. Through this growth of labor, Kirstin can focus on the many details associated with Revive and special events, while I can focus on obtaining grants — something I haven’t had as much time for in the past. This will hopefully allow us to further expand our programs and outreach.

This news comes with one additional change; my family will be relocating to Oregon in order to get my son Yaakov, who is on the spectrum, the help that he so desperately needs. As many of you know, over the past few months our lives have been turned upside down as Yaakov has faced numerous behavioral issues at school. Jacob and I know it’s time we make a change. For the remainder of 2018, Kirstin and I will be working closely together as she transitions into her new role.  I will be working from Oregon, but will be back in the Bay Area around Revive dates in order to make sure the program transition is seamless for our families.

I want to make it clear that although I’ll be working remotely, All in Need will have my full attention. In fact, it will have more of my attention than in the past. While living in California I juggled an additional full time job with the school district. Now I’ll have time to properly devote to both AiN and Yaakov.

Please know that AiN is my “baby” and the families we serve mean the world to me, and to Jacob and the board.  As I step into the Executive Director role, our programs will continue to expand and better support your families. Who knows… at some point we may even get to organize a satellite team in Oregon!

Although it’s hard to step away from the day-to-day program interactions, Jacob and I feel this is a win-win situation. We get to support our son. Our son gets his service dog. And once again because of our son and our family’s needs AiN will continue to grow and get more support!  Thank you for your understanding.

Wishing you rest,

Autumn Green

 

Trunk or Treat 2017

Austin Green teaching kids about archery

38 children and their parents came and joined AiN for their 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat!  This was made possible by more than 40 volunteers coming together volunteering their time!  Children were able to Trick or Treat at 27 different trunks.  One trunk the kids were able to try to be Robin Hood. While another trunk they could visit Alice and Wonderland.  Other trunks setup a zoo or AiN (Animal in Need)  This year, AiN had a contest for the best trunk where the children could pick their favorite trunk. Kimberly Gillem won a $100

Best Trunk

gift card to Dead Fish donated by Bank of America Anti-Freud Department.

Many of the kids lined up and played JENGA with the College Park Interact Club while others played Connect Four and Corn Hole.  This year AiN added Carnival games. One carnival game was made by Nate Klug from recycled materials from his home. Jacob Green made a pig race from an old table. They also could catch rubber ducks, ring toss.  Several family stopped by the green screen for pictures.

Of course, we cannot forget that many of the kids and several of the adults took a moment and threw pies at the Executive Director, Autumn Green in one of their newest fundraisers!

AiN was able to offer this event because of our sponsors: AHA Movement and Land Home Financial Services, and from two grants: Pleasant Hill Community Center and SMPS Family!  Thank you to those who donated for our drawings!

Enjoy looking at some of this years fun!

 

Vacationing with our Special Needs Son

20130731_150456Vacationing with Yaakov isn’t the most relaxing experience we have. Usually after two days of being away from our house he is asking to go home. Sometimes it isn’t asking, but crying and begging to go home.

This week, seemed to push him more than normal.  First we picked up his older brother, Austin, who was in Santa Cruz for church camp. Then headed off to Las Vegas, believing both boys would enjoy seeing different parts of the world walking down the strip.

I am a planner when it comes to vacations; I was even before Yaakov’s diagnoses of Aspergers.  Each day I have planned out on what the family and I will do.

We decided to stay the night at Whiskey Pete’s right on the board of Nevada and California Saturday night this allowing the boys to enjoy the roller coaster ride and log ride at Buffalo Bills on Sunday.  We stopped at the Silverton for lunch and then hung out at the Bass Pro Shop just to make our oldest son the happiest kid in the world. Then we checked into the Palace Station for the rest of the week.

Monday, came and though our plans were just to walk the strip we agreed to listen to a two hour time share thing so we could get free tickets to the Shark Reef and $1001097954_10200435759838407_1139156462_n restruant.com gift card.  The boys got to play games at the resort and Jacob and I patiently listened to their spiel and turned down their continuous offers of a “great deal”.

Afterwards, we headed to the Luxor were we knew our oldest son would love that casino since he loves the Greek and Egyptian mythology. Then we headed to the shark reef and by this point Yaakov was done. We made sure he had food in him and kept pulling him along, because it bothers me that so often we leave when Austin is enjoying something or we spilt up and one of us stays with Austin while the other goes with Yaakov to keep a meltdown from happening.

We stopped at a couple casinos like New York New York and Paris because we knew Yaakov would love Paris and both boys would love to see the roller coaster at New York New York.  Then we headed for Shuttle to get back to our hotel.  It was 9:30 when Yaakov’s meltdown started and pretty soon he was kicking and hitting Jacob and I and next thing I know he is throwing himself around hard enough that Jacob and him went flying off the bed. I don’t know how but Jacob moved enough to take the night stand in the arm instead of Yaakkov getting it in the head. The horror I felt as I watched it coming towards Yaakov’s head. Pretty soon he was slamming his head against the wall crying.  Of course, months ago I could laugh at his meltdown but Monday evening all I felt was resentment and fear.

20130801_140102I knew what little plans we had, now had to include keeping Yaakov’s behavior  in check. It really didn’t matter if the rest of us wanted to spend the next day running around Vegas or not we had to think about Yaakov and the meltdowns that could disturb our hotel neighbors and the fact that he could hurt himself in a fit of rage. The fear comes in when you aren’t close to your doctor’s and what would happen if he hurts himself in a meltdown and you don’t have the doctor’s you have been dealing with for years. How do you explain to a doctor who has never seen your child’s outbursts?

Tuesday morning, I ran into our hotel neighbor and the lady said not to worry about it that her and her husband work in a school district and Yaakov’s behaviors aren’t going to upset them even if they hear his outburst.

We spent the day at the pool then visited New York New York to ride the roller coaster and did the CSI Experience in the evening allowing Yaakov to rest and not pushing him another day.

Wednesday, we took the boys to Circus Circus Adventure Dome around 1 pm and left  at 11:15 pm and as we pulled into our Hotel parking garage Yaakov started throwing up.  Too much spinning, hungry (had a late lunch, and ate snacks but planned on eating the $1.99 burger at midnight) or dehydrated your guess is as good as mine.  He wanted me to make him a sandwich in the room and go to bed, so him and I stayed up in the room while Austin and Jacob enjoyed the cheap burger.

Thursday, enjoyed several hours by the pool and then went to the Pirate show at Treasure Island and headed back to our room.

Friday we headed home and though the drive was long it wasn’t bad.

Saturday, as the family started to get back into our daily routine Yaakov didn’t even change out of his PJs. I know I should care, but honestly it seems vacations are very 20130727_193610hard for him and he has to “reset” himself.

I was so angry with myself for resenting him on Monday, because the truth of the matter is I know I pushed him and I know better.  At times, even as his mother I forget he has a lot of good days and he looks so typical I allow myself to push him too far.

I don’t feel sorry for us, but at times I forget to be grateful for the life I have. Welcome to being a parent not just any parent but a parent of a child with special needs.

5 Days without the Kids (Special Need’s mom Adventure)

I finally decided to practice what I preach and left the boys for five days while my husband and I got away. Austin, who is 12 years old, has ADHD, Asthma, and very strong willed and Yaakov, who is 11 years old, and has Aspergers. The boys stayed with their grandmother Sunday through Monday and then with my best friends Tuesday through Thursday. It had been the first time I left them for any length of time since my husband, Jacob and I went to Cancun in 2006. A trip to Las Vegas was the plan this time, and even though I was going with my husband he would be spending most his time in a conference for work.

Jacob and Autumn3I would love to say it was an easy being away from the kids, but let’s face it I am a mom who is always with her kids and taking a break and putting my husband ahead of them isn’t the easiest practice for me. Though if I think about it I feel that I should be putting my husband before the kids, one day my kids will be grown and it will him and me who will be left and if I haven’t taken the time to feed that relationship how can I expect it to be strong when it is us who is left in our home. With that being said, I spent a lot of time by myself and that was probably the hardest. I mean my life in general is scheduled between kids, kid’s appointments, work, AiN, and housework and being able to do nothing was going to be different.

Two of the five days we were gone we spent time traveling to and from Vegas. We did stop at Calico Ghost Town where we explored and took pictures. I, of course, texted the pictures to the kids because just last month we spent some time talking about ghost towns so I just had to share our experience with them.

Not being gamblers, we spent time exploring the strip for experience and the sights more than anything else. I did expect it to be a little more wild then what I experience, so I was surprised by the rush of people but really how relax it was.

Getting up early and eating breakfast with my amazing husband, making sure I was around for lunch and eating dinner together became our habit.

But honestly, you found me either in bed reading when it was too hot outside or at the pool reading. I was hoping to come home with a great tan, and I guess there will just have to be a next time.

A few issues with the kids did come up, such as an asthma attack and some minor behavior issues, but they managed without me. It was having people in their life that I trusted and knowing they would have it handled.

On Wednesday I purposely didn’t text or call the boys to allow myself that break and even though I knew my oldest was having asthma issues I knew I would get a call if things got too bad.

As nice as the break was away from the kids, and I am truly grateful for the time. I would never stay at Las Vegas Hotel (LVH) again. We spent at least two and half hours trying to fix mistakes that were the hotel’s fault. Though the staff was nice and they did fix the mistakes it was the overall having to spend so much time getting them to fix the problems. (Been home a week and still dealing with it)

jacob cowboy hatOnce again, here I am a parent of a special needs child and I made myself take care of me and my  husband for five days. It is the best thing I could do for our marriage, family, and AiN. I was able to rest and I am refreshed and able to live my life! I took the time to practice what I preach, so I am begging you to take some time for yourself and remember you are a wonderful parent and you will be just as good if not better if you take some time for yourself.

My Kids are Successful Even with their Special Needs

He did it! He was promoted to 6th grade from mainstream elementary! After years of special day classes and Yaakov’s first year of mainstream he was successful and made it to 6th grade without having to move back to special day!

My mother and nephew came down for the promotion and witnessed Yaakov with his florescent green and pink hair along with his matching clothes and sunglasses walk across the stage! Afterwards, the fifth graders spent the day having with games, inflatables, and a dunk tank.

After the party at school we invited his past teachers, family, and friends to celebrate his success with a party in the backyard. Getting his favorite food catered, Rubios, and a cake we enjoyed a fun filled day.

As proud as I am of him, I cannot forget all the people who have helped him be successful. He has had a couple of amazing special day teachers and his mainstream teacher this year was beyond amazing. The principal loved my son and wanted to see him succeed and made sure it was setup that he could. I can never put into words how their support made a difference in not just Yaakov’s life but my own. Seeing my son struggle these last few years would eat at me and knowing that I am doing all I can wasn’t easy to live with. It was these last couple years that I felt like I could relax, because I didn’t feel I was the only one fighting for my son’s success. It was evident in everything the IEP team did that they also wanted to see him become the most he could be. I could only wish this for every parent who has a child with special needs.

We just received our oldest son’s report card, Austin also has an IEP and we were thrilled to see 5 B’s and 3 A’s on his report card. I cannot say this wonderful report hikecard is because of the support from the IEP team, but because he actually applied himself. As we were thrilled to see this report card; we were more thrilled that he applied himself. Like his father, the kid is smart! We over course, celebrated with pizza because at our house their success, no matter how big or how small, is supported by us and we want to show them that.