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.

Cookies with Santa 2015 an Event for Children with Special Needs

Santa had contacted AiN’s Executive Director, Autumn Green explaining that he couldn’t make it to Breakfast with Santa this year. Autumn was disappointed she had already planned on making Green and Ham for the Dr. Seuss Christmas theme.  She understood the schedule conflict, so she agreed to have Santa join the kids on Saturday, December 12, 2015 for Cookies with Santa.

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What a hit! 30 plus kids registered one of the two 45 minute sessions.  Kids rotated through four stations: Cookie station, art station, sensory station and Santa station. While they waited to see Santa they were able to look at books.logan2

With donations from Maggie Wolf each child received a stocking stuff full of goodies, and of course Santa had presents for each child. (2 books) which was possible by the sponsors of this event. Santa, Mrs Claus and Karen De Jager at Spectrum Photography worked extremely hard to make sure every child had a positive interaction with Santas Claus.  Santa was even willing to pop out from behind a chair so that the family had one photo with Santa and their daughter.

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Thank you to all our sponsors: Matt Rinn at State Farm, Debbie Smith at AHA Movement, Margret Miner at VinoCruising, Joe Stokely at Stokely Properties, and Michael Bronies at J. Rockcliff Realtors. We cannot forget all the other 1volunteers that put hours into preparing for this event. This event wouldn’t have been successful without you. A special thank you to Jen Tipton, who made dozens and dozens of cookies for this event.

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Yaakov’s Runner-Stacyruns 4 Autism Stacy Runs 4 My Son

How many of you have heard of I run 4? The I run 4 webpage says:

We all have friends who say, “run some for me,” because they don’t WANT to run. But what about those who can’t run for physical or developmental reasons?  Having been inspired by a close friend battling bilateral hip dysplasia, Founder Tim Boyle discovered a whole new inspiration to run.

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In a previous post I shared my story of being a runner. As I saw stories of children and their special needs I questioned signing my own stacyson up. He is on the Autism spectrum but high functioning. Many of the families, I viewed desperately needed support so I struggled signing Yaakov up to have a runner.  Finally, I did and he was paired with Stacy, who lives in New York!  She has been running for him for about two years now. He enjoys hearing from her, but her support when we were dealing with IEPs was unreal. She would send photos of Spartan runners saying as a Spartan we back each other.

We were able to go back to New York, so that I could run a race for my buddy. While were there Stacy took the time to come and met Yaakov in person. Though he was pretty rude and wouldn’t talk to her she went with the flow. She brought him several of her medals and a few t-shirts from races she had taken part in.  Yaakov’s favorite story from all the race’s was Stephen Siller’s Tunnel to Tower 5K.

On September 11, 2001,

Stephen had just gotten off the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was on his way to play golf with his brothers when his scanner told of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers.  When he heard the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later, and then returned to Squad 1 to get his gear. Stephen drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it was already closed. So he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, rushed on foot through gridlocked traffic and ran from the Tunnel to the Towers where he gave up his life while saving others.

 

To read all of Stephen’s story visit his webpage.

Yaakov had no desire to go to the 911 memorial until Stacy told him the story. Once we got to the memorial he found Stephen’s name and had his picture taken with it while wearing the shirt Stacy gave him. It was a delight that she was able to spark interest from her races and for something that was important to our history.

Since meeting her, it is clear he is much more interested in her. I believe it is because the relationship is no longer on Facebook, but a real person.

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Thank you, Stacy for running for my son. Thank you for running for Autism.

To sign up for a runner or to be come a runner visit I run 4 Michael’s webpage.

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.

Parent Interview with Rachel Shirley

bridgeWhy are you thankful for All in Need? 

“I am thankful for All in Need because of the break I get during the couple of hours and the time I get to spend with my husband.” – Rachel Shirley

Did you have plans tonight?

“Me and my husband went out to dinner and went on a nice walk.” – Rachel Shirley

How long have you been a part of All in Need?

“This is my second month being a part of All in Need and I love everything about the program.” – Rachel Shirley

 

Interviewed and written by: Fatima Ali

Photo by Jacob Green

Animal Planet at Revive!

DSCN2851Autumn Green, founder of All in Need, hosted her June event on Saturday June 20. The theme of each event varies from month to month, and this month was “animals near and far”.

   On Saturday, there were about 10 children and 10 volunteers who came to support the event. Autumn hosts all the events herself by organizing different activities for the children.

   The activities began with animal racing between all of the kids. They did ape walks, frog jumps, bear crawls, and crab crawls.

    After each kid participated, they moved on to arts and crafts.

    The arts and crafts are divided up into two groups consisting of one for the smaller children and another for the youth. They do one activity which could either be painting or drawing. These crafts require the children to use basic skills such as cutting, gluing and painting.

    Following the arts and crafts, the kids did yoga, had story time and watched a series of educational videos. Then, they danced a long to some songs and ended the program with some more interactive games.

    All the children participated in these activities and had fun interacting with all of the other kids.

     The next event will be on July 18.

 

Written by: Fatma Ali

Photos by: Ally Tipton

Preparing for the Easter Bunny 2014

Preparing for the Easter Egg Hunt that AiN is putting on for children with special needs has been so much fun. Togos-Medallion
We have had a lot of support within the community. ToGos has sponsored 15 baskets for children with special needs. They also added coupon’s for a free meal with a purchase of an adult meal. What a great place to eat after the Easter Egg Hunt.

David Levien from Prudential sponsored 10 baskets for children with special needs, and added information to the basket on how he can serve you and your family!

Tanner and Reichhold Orthodontics helped purchase candy for 500+ eggs!
TRC Energy Services employees came together and donated over $175 to help out with the event!
We also had eggs donated from community members: Anne, Cathy, Marilyn and Sherly!
We are not even close to being done yet! These locations have agreed to support an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt!
Slow Hand BBQ
Round Table
Sunshine Café
Music Encounter
Safeway
It is with the support of these amazing businesses that AiN is able to offer your child this opportunity! I cannot wait to see the fun we have at the egg hunt!

Taking Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Others

I Run Because I CanIf I haven’t asked before, let me ask now. How do you take care of yourself? At AiN we want to make sure you are doing things that are taking care of yourself. I know for myself being able to leave my son, who has special needs with anyone wasn’t the easiest thing. Yet, I tried to make sure I made it to the gym knowing if there was a problem them would call me. They called me more than once and they quickly learned that Yaakov didn’t like to be touched.

I have wrote before, that I know one thing I have to do is exercise to make it through my daily up and downs with having a child with special needs, working, and now let’s adding schooling on to it.  Even though I know that working out keeps me balanced yet it is what goes first. (Then my clean house) I was cross country runner and long distance runner in school and even when I start exercising at the gym it doesn’t take me long to start running. It is imbedded into who I am. So, imagine my delight to find out about a nonprofit called Irun4. Irun4 partners runners with a person with special needs. You log miles for your partner and send encouragement throughout the week on Facebook. This being my opportunity to make sure I am taking care of myself, yet in the meantime I am going to make sure I get my workouts in because I am doing it for someone else not just myself anymore.

A night run for my buddy!
A night run for my buddy!

It took months before I was placed with my buddy, but it was well worth my wait. I was thrilled to find out that my buddy was nine years old and like my own son on the Autism spectrum. The best part of the adventure is our whole family runs 4 Jahdiel! My oldest tumbles for him and target practice with him in mind. My husband dedicates his miles he walks to and from work and then when he runs he makes sure I have the miles to add to my buddy’s mom’s Facebook page. As I learn more about my east coast buddy. I decided how I will dedicate my runs and workout for him. For example he loves Dr. Seuss so I am thinking I may have to get Cat and the Hat’s hat so I can where it on my 10K!

Even more as a parent of a child with special needs there is time I feel overwhelmed and my spirit is just crushed. Wishing that someone was there to help me encourage my son throughout the week I wondered why I hadn’t requested a buddy for Yaakov. I felt guilty considering it because Yaakov does fairly well in soccer and baseball and it very competitive. Yet, with some support from the Facebook group, I applied for a runner for Yaakov. Though my wait for a buddy was months; Yaakov, was placed with buddy within four hours.

Yaakov’s buddy is on the East Coast and her name is Stacy and like Jahdiel Yaakov received an additional buddy, whose name is Aaron I wasn’t sure how my eleven year old would feel about having a buddy, but during Christmas vacation he wanted to make cookies for Stacy and Aaron.  He messaged her on Facebook (through my page) just the other day complaining that his school was making him dance and he couldn’t remember the dances. So, she said her and her friend would make a video and post it on my Facebook page so he could practice.

Why carry all the burden when their others who want to encourage you! Sign up your child to get a running buddy. While you’re at it why don’t you take care of yourself and get a workout in and let benefit another person out there. See how you can support someone who uses  Irun4 or how they can support your family?

 

An Important Note from our Girl Scout about Benefits of Art

IMG_8419Hi everyone! My name is Casey Mitchell and I am an Ambassador Girl Scout. I am earning my Girl Scout Gold Award by using art to help with the development of children with special needs. The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, similar to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle award, and it requires a minimum of eighty hours to complete. I chose to work with All in Need Family Support, which was the perfect fit for my project.

As many of you know, I taught art lessons to some of the children at AiN’s monthly Revive evenings over the last eight months. I also created a portable “mural” of their artwork that Autumn can display at AiN events. Finally, I created take-home art kits with plenty of supplies and craft instructions, so that children can continue to do art at home.

Getting feedback is an important requirement of my Gold Award project.  If your child participated in the art lessons, please take a few minutes to complete a brief survey about my project at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/27F6LVK.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the kids and looked forward to each lesson. As I am wrapping up my project, I wanted to provide some additional resources and information for parents who want to help their kids continue to explore art.

Art is very important to the development of children in general, and can be especially beneficial to those with special needs. Children strengthen many crucial skills through art, including communication, problem solving, social, emotional, and fine/gross motor skills. Since AiN focuses on these areas, I felt that art would be a good way to help improve these skills as well as their attention spans, focusing skills, and tactile tolerance. Children also learn self-expression, creativity, and patience through art, as well as simply enjoying the process and final outcome.

While conducting the art lessons, I noticed the children improving their listening skills and getting better at following directions. It was very exciting to see the children participate with enthusiasm and feel successful by completing their project. I was also happy to see some of the shyer children warm up to me after a couple of lessons. I encourage you to show your pride in your child’s artwork by displaying it at home.

Here are some links to more information about the benefits of art education and participation:

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/benefits-special-education-art-integration-16291.html

http://www.parentguidenews.com/Articles/TheArtofSpecialNeeds

Here are a few art project ideas (Pinterest is a great source for more inspiration):

http://www.classichousewife.com/2012/05/18/how-to-make-your-own-sensory-balloons-or-stress-balls/

http://www.disneybaby.com/blog/thats-brilliant-diy-sensory-bottles/

http://spoonful.com/crafts/a-roundup-of-15-creative-crayon-projects-to-do-with-kids#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=2

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/10-activities-children-autism/

October 2013 Newsletter

October Newsletter is out. Upcoming events and a story shared about having a child with down syndrome in honor of down syndrome awareness month.

Make sure to check it out: October Newsletter.