AiN’s Second Annual Breakfast with Santa

IMG_2903All in Need, Family Support (AiN) offered their second Breakfast with Santa, Saturday December 6th at Oak Park Christian Center. Where Jennifer Palmer (Palmer) from American Automobile Association Club Partners (AAA) decorated the windows with a winter theme and Thing 1 and Thing 2 peeking through. A backdrop of many of the Dr. Seuss characters sitting around the breakfast table was a team effort that gave the children a chance to visit a Seussical world. They even painted Thing 1 and Thing 2 life size to stand next to Santa while pictures were taken!

This event, presented by AAA, gave children with special needs a chance to eat breakfast with Santa (including gluten free options!) in a fun and animated environment. Each child received three well known books donated by AAA. They also received a stocking with a coloring book (also donated by AAA), chocolate coins, and candy canes. These special gifts were also made possible by our other sponsors Vi Ibarra at Mary Kay and Emily Wallin Photography. Emily also donated her time and talent to make sure each family member receives a digital photo of their child with Santa. The UPS Store on Crescent also donated a banner. Because of AiN’s wonderful sponsors parents were able to receive one and a half hours of respite during this delightful event!

Having 18 children, Santa, and Mrs. Claus to feed there was a lot of food and food preparation required. Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Costco, Sprouts, and Safeway (Both on Contra Costa and on Patterson) donated gift cards to make sure the Claus family had plenty to eat after there long trip. Jennifer Tipton, Ally, Vi Ibarra, Jacob Green, Karolyn Green, and Audra McDonald made sure food was prepared and warmed for this special occasion.

An anonymous donor, generously donated money for scholarships, making it possible for five children to attend this once in a life time event and it was their gift that lit up the parent’s life with a break and the child’s life with Santa’s magic.

As much as the event couldn’t have happened without our sponsors. We cannot forget to thank all our volunteers whoIMG_2956 made it possible. Ariana and her high school club came in the night before and helped setup. They did a wonderful job! A special thank you to Ariana who put up with my unreasonable corrections of the Christmas tree. We had Girl Scout troops # 3096 and #30262 helping us out at this event. The girls were simply amazing! Vi, there isn’t enough positive things that can be said about this lady she is an amazing asset to the special needs community, to AiN, and even to my own personal life. Ariana and Sofia also came from their school club; Ariana has been an AiN volunteer for a year. She has a desire to work in special education, specifically speech. She will be a true advocate for the children we serve! Monica an AiN volunteer who can always counted on. Austin though he is my son and I could simply brag about what an amazing child I have raised I won’t. I will just say thank you for blessing the child at AiN with your presences and your patients. Jacob Green, as you guessed the man that holds me up! He is always there to volunteer, encourage the children and myself. The kids love him and AiN is lucky to have a man who is so supportive to the cause! Al & Karolyn Green these folks drove from Oregon to help with this special event! All that can be said about them is, isn’t Autumn Green lucky to have in-laws that believe in the cause and her! Lastly, this event couldn’t happen without the board members. Audra McDonald, Chair. Audra is always there to make sure the big events go without a hiccup. She has plenty of experience working at We Care. Angie Barber, the secretary who started out as an AiN volunteer and has moved into a board position. AiN is lucky to have her!

Likewise, Sherly Morles also started out as volunteer and moved into a board position, treasure. Jenny Vargo, background is special education teaching. Jenny has been part of the Green Family’s life since their youngest son was 5 years old when she was his Kindergarten and then first grade teacher. They cannot thank you Jenny and her husband enough to continue to be part of their lives in this way! Emily Wallin, as you know was there taking pictures but also is an AiN board member. It is her dedication to students as a teacher that made Autumn ask if she would be interested in being on the board. It is with great gratitude that we thank all the volunteers that made this event special! Thank you!

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?

 

Santa Came to Town!

Erin & SantaThough Santa has come and gone, he and Mrs. Claus made a special stop to visit and have breakfast with some of our AiN children and their families on December 14th.
Twenty-five participants in all. Mrs. Claus had made a special batch of candy canes just for the visit and Santa brought gifts for each child.  Both Mrs. Claus and Santa graciously took time to have their pictures taken with the children and volunteers. Brittany Erin Photography was nice enough to come out from San Francisco and fight the chill in the air to capture our event on camera. (I heard that she has a deal on Living Social)AiN and santa

Santa and Mrs. Claus even checked our returning Christmas tree. That is right, the Dr. Seuss themed tree returned from last year; topped with The Cat in the Hat’s Hat. The decorations were done by two wonderful ladies in the South Bay last year for the Christmas Tree contest done at Westfield Valley Fair Mall. It was a great delight to be able to pull the decorations out again for such a wonderful occasion.

This special Social Club still offered families a break from their special needs child to finish their shopping or just take an hour and half of alone time, but even with the offer many parents stayed to watch the excitement of their little ones conquering the fear of sitting on Santa’s lap and not having to wait in those long lines at the mall.

Breakfast was made by two amazing girls scouts and their mothers; while The Boy Scouts, Troop 22, served breakfast and made sure our participants had someone to talk to.  Of course we had several of our AiN volunteers on hand to help setup.

A special thank you to all volunteers who helped us out! I want send a warm thank you to Trader Joe’s in Concord and Trader Joe’s in Walnut Creek, Sprouts, Safeway on Contra Costa and Safeway on Patterson who helped make this event possible.  We must not forget to send a great big hug to Santa and Mrs. Claus, so they will return next year! (Thank you, Tom and Dorothy!)girl scout

I received an email from the Easter Bunny and he was thinking about hopping on by in April! Who is in?

 

 

 

 

November Newsletter

AiN’s News

Policy Changes:
Starting in January 2013 we will have a new policy going into effect. Early registration for events will be $5 less than regular registration, payments must be received by the early registration deadline, and regular registration will be collected until the registration cutoff date. If families have registered by the deadline, but haven’t made their payment by the deadline there will be an additional $5 fee at the door. Please plan accordingly. AiN accepts payments online at allinneed.org/signup or you can send a check to AiN at 25-A Crescent Ave. #214, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 or contact Autumn at info@allinneed.org to schedule a payment drop off.

 

To read more on AiN’s Newsletter click here.

Magical Moments for Children-Dr. Seuss Tree

AiN was invited to take part of the Festival of Trees “Magical Moments” at Westfield Valley Fair. We were asked to do “Magical Moments for Children” therefore, we decided to do our tree -Dr. Seuss theme. Books can take a child anywhere, but Dr. Seuss has a way of reaching children and adults a like. Here our tree is in storage waiting for the unveiling on Thursday, November 15th from 5 pm to 7 pm where shoppers have a chance to vote for the best decorated tree. The tree with the most votes wins $1500!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using old Dr. Seuss books Jenny and Lauren set off making Seuss Ornaments. Here is just one of many ornaments the two ladies designed. Autumn found solid red, green, and white large round ornaments along with small stripped, swirled, and dotted ornaments at Michael’s.With tree topper of the Cat and the Hat’s Hat it turned out perfect. 

 

 

 

 

 

The two ladies who really made it happen, Jenny and Lauren. Thank you for blessing AiN with your gifts of imagination and your love for Dr. Seuss. AiN families and board members truly appreciate your time and energy that you put into the tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of the children who attend AiN events. The two boys didn’t just help decorate the tree, but also made sure Sam-I-Am was properly located on the tree skirt, and the young lady made sure we stayed on task. Autumn, AiN founder, and Elizabeth,  board member, all helped decorate the tree and wrapped gifts.

Thank you to Westfield Fair Valley and all volunteers who made this happen!

 

Make sure you join us on Thursday, 11/15 at 5 pm for the unveiling and vote Dr. Seuss Tree!