AiN’s 3rd Annual Egg Hunt for Children with Special Needs

May 19th brought the celebration of spring and an early Easter Egg Hunt for children with special needs and their families.  AiN hosting their 3rd annual egg hunt was Saturday, where AiN volunteers and Pleasant Hill Chamber Members packed 1,200 plastic eggs for 31 kids to find.  Each child received an AiN Easter Basket (this year an AiN bag) which included bubbles, slinkies, sensory toys, sunglasses and so much more.

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Because we had the budget AiN reached out to two other organizations that serve children with special needs. One of the organizations used the egg hunt as an Applied Behavior Analysis social group outing.  While the other organization used it as a family day out; offering networking between parents while children joined in the egg hunt.

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#AiN #AllinNeed #AiNEggHunt #SomeBunnyLovesYou

AiN is Awarded Two Grants

egg hunt rath 8All in Need, Family Support (AiN) serves families with special needs children, ages 18 and under, who live in the East Bay area. AiN offers support in a nurturing and learning environment that promotes social interaction and gross and fine motor activities, all in a sensory based atmosphere.

The “Revive” respite care program gives parents the chance to take care of themselves, so they can take better care of their children.

Their “Special Events” are held several times throughout the year for the entire family to enjoy. These are age appropriate activities, offered in a mainstream setting, allowing for kids to participate in events in a safe and positive atmosphere. Whether enjoying decorating Cookies with Santa, exploring for eggs and prizes at the annual Easter Egg Hunt, or dressing up in the costumes and participating in safe and fun trick or treating at Trunk-or-Treat, these events are a unique and fun way for kids and families to get engaged. Because it is so important for families to share their stories and support each other, these events not only encourage friendships among AiN Children, but offer an opportunity for parents to network with other AiN families.

AiN was award their first grant from SMPS Family Fund for $3,000 last month. The money is to be used for their special events program.   They were shocked to also find out they were rewarded a $250 grant from the Jim and Sharon Walker Family Fund that they were unaware of. Autumn Green, Executive Director and Founder, says she cannot express her gratitude enough for these two grants.

If you would like more information on AiN programs or how you can support AiN visit their webpage at www.allinneed.org.

Feeding His Autism-I Mean His Obsession

As I shared in an earlier post, we took a trip to the East Coast so that I could run a half marathon for my buddy who has Autism. To hear about that part of the trip visit I run 4 Jahdiel. But, what I didn’t mention was we decided it was a once in a life time chance to  for our youngest to experience Boston. So I apologize up front for all the photos in this post, but to see your son enjoy a vacation in itself is huge, but giving him this experience was awesome!

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Yaakov, our youngest who is on the Autism spectrum, loves American History! He loves the American Revelation and loves the Boston Tea Party. We took him to the Boston Tea Museum where he reenacted the night the colonist threw over the tea. He saw the only remaining tea chest. Of course, then sampled the tea in the tea room.  It was a dream come true for him and to see his actual smile was worth the long drive from New York City to Boston!

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Next we walked the Freedom Trail, and visited the Burying Grounds where Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and many other famous historical men were laid to rest. He also learned that the people who died in the Boston Massacre was buried near Samuel Adams.  He was pleased to stand where the Boston Massacre took place and hike up the Bunker Hill, and of course he finally got to visit the Old North Tower Church.

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Boston was everything that he thought it would be, and more. He told me it was hard to say good-bye but he has decided to become a historian and focus on the American Revolution and to do that he will move back to Boston to go to college and get a job there. Sure, he is in 8th grade and things may change but it was so good to be able to be part of sharing his love for history.sam

As Yaakov, showed his passion for history. I was able to see Austin, my oldest son use his phone to take pictures and I was shocked to see some of the photos he came up by using his camera on his phone. If you are wondering why there isn’t any photos of Austin. That is because he is 15 years old and too cool for pictures.

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Before we left Boston, my husband and I dragged the boys to Cheers!

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We also thought we would take him to Philadelphia, but it wasn’t where he wanted to be. We enjoyed being together as a family but the four of us agreed that Boston was way better!

Here are my boys in Philly!

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Special Needs Means Special Marriages

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“This is where you need to be. This is who you’ll need to pick up. This is what you’ll feed them precisely at 6:30.” A year ago Doug and Kellie Conde found that their only communication was around schedules. As parents of a 6 year old son, Brandon, with special needs, they found they had become prisoners to a schedule that kept Brandon’s symptoms under control. Unfortunately, this came at a price.
Doug and Kellie found that they had lost track of themselves as a couple. There was no “How was your day honey?” or “Let’s go grab a bite to eat tonight”. Instead they were living a highly structured life that revolved around Brandon’s schedule, leaving no time for them to interact as a couple.
All until they found All in Need. Through All in Need’s monthly Respite program, Doug and Kellie have an enriching environment to leave Brandon in while they have a few hours to escape an exhausting reality. “Without All in Need it was really hard to have adult conversations,” says Doug. “There’d be this mental timer and no matter where we were in conversation, we’d have to check on him every two minutes to make sure he was OK.”
Now, while Brandon (and sometimes his sister Karly) are at Respite, Doug and Kellie can relax. “Before All in Need, we really hadn’t gone out as a couple since Brandon was an infant,” says Kellie. “Even with family willing to help, we found that we just weren’t comfortable asking people for that help.”
Doug and Kellie really enjoy the fact that Brandon is having just as much fun as them in those precious Respite hours. “It’s not just the parents that need a break,” says Kellie. “The kids need a break from us too.” Brandon used to be completely focused on animals. As a result of his time with All in Need, he’s now learning to embrace building with Legos® as well. It puts Doug and Kellie at ease to know that he’s in an environment he enjoys and is broadening his horizons at the same time.
“It’s funny,” says Kellie, “there’s really nothing more exciting to us than going out for a completely non-eventful, early, normal dinner. And it’s all thanks to All in Need.”
All in Need needs your help! With your support, we can find more families like Doug and Kellie’s to help. This email kicks off our first ever Annual Giving Campaign for the 2015-16 school year. Our plan this year is to continue providing an enriching curriculum for the children that attend Respite and to increase the number of families we’re able to serve.
We are hoping we can count on your support. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible and several payment options are available. We appreciate all donations and recognize all our contributors.
Our success depends on the generosity of the community. Please help us work to be a resource for families who face extra challenges — after all, everyone deserves a break here and there!

Donate

Making it A Permanent Decision to Bring Awareness to Autism

First I want to make it clear this not a blog post on preaching. It isn’t how AiN staff or board members feel, but the writer’s own thoughts on why she had the tattoo designed the way she did.

Many years ago Austin, my oldest son, chose this verse as his life verse: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13. Which is interesting because watching him develop into a young man I see how he loves others unconditionally.

I struggled choosing something to represent my youngest son, Yaakov. In truth I knew I could do Autism puzzle pieces, but didn’t want to portray that Autism was our life. It is part of our life it is what led me to find All in Need but it is just a piece of the puzzle. After a long decision process I decided to have Jeremiah 29:11 which says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.. This verse would show no matter what piece of the puzzle we no there are plans that will be used for all.

I got the Brooks running shoe, because I love brooks and because I love to run and I love to run for a child who has Autism, Jahdiel. I asked the tattoo artist to some how add the puzzle pieces in the shoe because I run for a boy has Autism. I didn’t want the pieces too big but wanted it part of the art work of the shoe.

Lastly, I wanted to show the seasons which represented two things: running year round and that no matter time of year AiN would be here ready to serve others.

When I got there the puzzle pieces were way bigger than what I thought they would be, but it was everything I could imagine! Now when hitting the road for a run I share my dedication to Autism Awareness for my buddy, Jadhiel and share my love for families and their children that use All in Need!

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Meet AiN’s Vice Chair: Stacie Mihalik

Stacie MihalikStacie Mihalik epitomizes the energy, empathy and attention to detail needed to deliver a stellar customer experience. Stacie grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and her passion for exceeding customers’ expectations began during her tenure at Nordstrom, a company that excels at customer service. Since then, she has built a successful career in marketing over the last 15 years, helping companies optimize customer touch points, streamline marketing communications, and develop content that matters.

Beginning her career at boutique investment management firms in Los Angeles, Stacie then worked at a Cleveland bank’s headquarters, enticing customers in a corporate environment and winning recognition via HACR’s Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever program. Back in the San Francisco Bay area, Stacie launched into innovation related marketing and is excited about continuing to invent desire through car related technology with AAA.

Stacie holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Michigan State University where she studied marketing and finance.

Get to know our volunteer: Jacob Green

jacobJacob Green has been involved with All in Need since the very beginning. With AiN, he hopes to help make the lives of families who have children with special needs a bit easier. With his experience so far, he has really seen how what AiN is doing is really making a difference in the lives of these children and their families.

His favorite thing about AiN is watching the kids dance and participate during music videos and game time. Volunteering with special needs children has changed his perspective on working with special needs children dramatically.

In his free time, he likes to go mountain biking.

Get to know our volunteer: Sydney Polich

Sydney Polich has been a member of All in Need for three months now as a group leader for the younger kids. She joined AiN with the hope of helping an organization whose mission she believed in as well as to improve her leadership skills.

sydney89Her favorite thing about AiN is that it is designed to help families as a whole as opposed to individual children. AiN has something to offer every family who has a child with special needs, whether it be support, a relaxation break, or just a place to hang out.

“AiN has embedded in me the truth that each child, with or without special needs, has a unique set of talents and an even more distinct personality”, Polich said.  “A disability is not a label, but only a part of what makes an individual that individual.”

Her favorite part of the events is the Wii Dance portion of the evening where all the children have fun and interact with each other.

For fun, she loves to run and is a member of her school’s cross-country and track team. She also enjoys other sports and outdoor activities.

Get to Know Our Volunteer-Austin Green

   green_family16  Austin Green has been a part of All in Need Family Support since the very beginning when the program started in 2011. Before he began working with kids, he used to help plan the arts and crafts for the children. Throughout his journey with All in Need, he has learned to work better with special needs children and his favorite thing about All in Need is playing with the children.  Working with All in Need has given Austin the desire to work with both children and adults who have special needs within his church.  One of his favorite activities to do when attending the events is to play legos. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and camping.  In his future, Austin hopes to move to Oregon one day and go to school to become an occupational therapist.

Get to Know our Volunteers-Ally Tipton

Ally Ally Tipton has been a volunteer for All in Need for the past couple of months, she assists with desk work and is also the photographer. Her favorite thing about volunteering with All in Need is experiencing the children’s happiness as they perform the different activities and she loves to help out with the kids and their families. She enjoys seeing how creative the children get with the arts and crafts projects. For Ally, the hardest part of volunteering is seeing some of the children struggle with the activities, but all the volunteers are very inclusive and always make sure the children take part and enjoy each activity. In her free time, Ally loves to travel, hang out with friends, and pursue her passion for photography!