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.



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.


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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AiN Trunk or Treat 2015 for Families who have Children with Special Needs

DSC_0074Our first Trunk or Treat was successful! We  had 56 children registered who might have otherwise not been able to enjoy the traditional trick or treating experience that many children take for granted. Though we aren’t sure how many secretly entered without letting us know they made it to this special event. We do know at least 45 kids did show up, and some from the other side of the Bay! The skeletons, the princess, the policemen, the butterflies, minecraft skins, and so many more stopped by at least 30 trunks at Oak Park Christain Center in Pleasant Hill on October 24th. Support came through various people within our community. We had sponsors from local business, AiN board members and volunteers, Diablo Valley College staff and students, and Oak Park Christian Center church members  setup their trunks for this special event. Kids seemed to flock to the trunk who brought a live chicken, though their was a fortune teller, fire fighter, fishing, and so much more there!  As kids had a blast parents enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere and a time to socialize with other parents. Here is what one parents said.

Thank you so much for this wonderful event, not only did my daughter have a great time but me and my whole family did as well. For me, I get very stressed out when I feel I have to explain my daughters behaviors to people (why she doesn’t say trick ortreat, or thank you, or hello) for me not having the pressure of having to explain that or worry that people think she is being rude was priceless to me. What you do is amazing, and I would love to help support the all in need organization in any way I can. Thank you again. Xx -Danette Schmidt Niblett

A special thank you to Ally’s Girl Scout Troop and Oak Park Christian Center Youth Group, and AiN volunteers and their families!


This event was successful because of our sponsors and volunteers!
A huge thank you to the following our Gold Sponsors!

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Julie McCoy Team Realtor®/

Broker Associate BRE Lic. # 01260930 Remax Accord

We Make things Happen!
Serving Buyers and Sellers
with Passion and Compassion



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Silver Sponsors

Sue Wood Photography
Skin Deep
Pam Green Keller
Williams Realty
Dr. Dietzen
Jennifer Voss
Active Reading
Goals for Autism
Other Sponsors
Mark Gebhardt Photography

IMG_1664Make sure you visit our facebook page to see all the fun photos!

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

Science Fun at Respite

May 16th’s Revive theme was Science.  We came up with a fun ways to incorporate science into our obstacle course! We decided to have the kids walk on eggs to see if they break them. We even had a little girl try to run over an egg with her wheel chair to see if the egg would hold up. Check out the fun!



AiN Walks for Mito 2015

11147082_1123227761028061_4454931570207503356_nAll in Need Family Support (AiN) put a team together for the Energy for Life Walkthon in the San Francisco  Bay Area which was held on April 18th. The team consisted of board members and volunteers and friends,  together we we’re able to hit our goal of $700 for the research for mitochondrial disease.

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation says, “mitochondrial disease results from failure of the mitochondria specialized compartments present in every cell of the body expect for red blood cells.” It further saying that, “mitochondrial is responsible for creating more than 90 percent of the energy needed to buy a body to succeed in life and support growth and support growth.”

AiN chose to walk the Energy for Life Walk, a 5k, which supports the research for mitochondrial disease because two of our children at AiN have mitochondrial. We wanted to show our support and love for these children and their families by walking with them at the Mito Walk. AiN loves Erin and Kevin!



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!

Disneyland and Our Child with Special Needs

Disneyland Family Trip

I have heard nothing, but complaining from the parents in the special needs community about Disneyland’s recent policy change for families that bring their child with special needs. First, I should say my son has Aspergers and is high functioning and we took a family trip to Disneyland the first week of June 2014.

yaakov carryHe wanted to try Disneyland without using the disability pass, and we supported his desire to be like his brotherand cousins. Though, I should have taken him in to get it first thing and if he didn’t want to use it would have been available if needed. Waiting in the line to go into Disneyland, he turns white and says I am getting a headache which is his first sign of being overstimulated. He still refused to go get the pass, and then he and cousin took off on their own I received a call saying he has a migraine and he was in line for the Cars ride. I happened further up in line on for same ride, and asked if he wanted me to come back and get him. He said no. As we loaded onto the ride we saw him and his coloring was bad. When he got off I offered to go get the pass again. It wasn’t until he was upset by a lady who started yelling at my sister, my mom, and me that he gave in and got the pass. The lady had him so scared, because of her behavior that I couldn’t get him calmed down and I finally told him lets go get the pass. (Thank God, he didn’t hear the lady threatening us; otherwise, I would have never gotten him to ride on another ride.)

At this point, I still had no idea how the pass worked. I just knew we were on the first day, he had rode on two rides and he already had three different issues. I went to the customer service area with my son and told them what was going on. The lady was amazing! She asked me if I knew how the pass worked and then explained it.

1. You signup for a ride with a long wait for example Splash Mountain had a 90 minute wait. They write down 80 minutes instead of 90.
2. You DO NOT have to wait in line those 80 minutes.
3. They recommend eating, shopping, or go on the rides that have ten minute waits or less.
4. They asked how many were in our party. In our case there was 10. They asked to see all 10 people to verify.

They took his picture and put it on the front of the pass with how many were in the party. They also told us they had customer kiosk booths throughout the park where we could add the next ride on to the pass AFTER we finished the ride. We would find a kiosk and I would tell them the ride he wanted to go on next. Then they sent us on our way.
The only thing I found annoying about the whole things is the kiosks were not always easy to access. They were small and far apart so they were not easy to find; however, the customer services was friendly and very helpful.

Day 1 had a few more meltdowns. I met my cousin who lives in Southern California for drinks and left the boys with my mom and sister. The older son’s phone died, so the younger one had a meltdown because his brother was lost. (He was in the meeting place waiting patiently with his cousin for an adult to come find them.) Then after his brother was found he had another meltdown because his brother was lost because he didn’t get the message on the phone in time. (Can you tell I waited too long to get the pass?)

Day 2 was better and Bubbie and Papa (grandma & grandpa) rented him a scooter to ride around on. Now it may sound stupid, but let’s think about this. I walked 20+ miles on the first day which means my boy wasn’t too far behind me in distance walked. His feet were hurting bad and he was already overstimulated. This took one thing out of the equation which really did help. Day 2, myself, hubby and our youngest did our own thing on his schedule. He chose to sign up for a ride and set and wait a lot on day 2.

Men in the familyDay 3 we hung out with family that day, but Bubbie took Yaakov on some of the more quiet rides like canoeing and that sort of thing. But, of course we had to have one last melt down. Family pictures and the photographer had him tears. It never fails; pictures with the whole family and he ends up in tears.

We as a group of ten only used the pass once with all of us there. The rest of the time, family members did their own thing. I felt Disneyland allowed our family to enjoy Disneyland as a whole group. Supported my son and his disabilities, but mostly I felt it was fair that my son had to wait like every other kid that goes to Disneyland, but I appreciated that we didn’t have to wait in line. We have worked hard teaching our son that even though he has a disability it doesn’t mean things in life will be handed to him. I think the staff at Disneyland did a very good job at trying to balance the experience for families with children with special needs.

Thank you, Papa and Bubbie for the fun and Disneyland thank you for making this vacation possible!

AiN visited Pleasant Hill Rotary Club

rotary 1Autumn Green, the founder of All in Need, had the opportunity to speak to the Pleasant Hill Rotary Club on Thursday, April 10, 2014. Autumn loves working with children and has no issues speaking to a group of youth, but her in front of a bunch of adults; she is overwhelmed.

She quickly learned that when speaking publicly she couldn’t just speak about AiN, but she had to find a way to bring AiN to the group she was speaking to. This is for a couple of reason, one this is where Autumn feels confident she knows what each respite event offers the children and how different activities support their development. Two, because honestly who wants to sit and listen to another presentation from someone you don’t know and may not have a passion for what they are talking about.

rotary 3Autumn shared with the Rotary Club how AiN was founded, because a of her own family’s struggles in finding support for her youngest son, Yaakov. Recalling this part of her family’s life; Autumn usually gets emotional. Then she moves into what AiN has to offer. She speaks about Revive, Social Club: Day Out, and Social Club: Game Night.
It is when she speaks about the events she gets the audience involved. She gets out the Scooter Boards and has guest push themselves around on it just like the children would during gross motor activities at Revive. She brings in sand for a sensory activities, Fine motor activity having the audience use tweezers to move puff balls from one muffin tray to another. Of course, we do a game from Social Club Game night too. The goal is to get the audience engaged so that they can experience firsthand the fun the kids have will in these AiN activities, but also learn the purpose of each activity.

As much as Autumn hates speaking in public she enjoyed sharing the AiN story with Pleasant Hill Rotary Club and hopes that they will be able to volunteer in one of our amazing activities.

Soroptimist International Youth Recognition Night Honors AiN

It was a wonderful evening on April 17th where Autumn was able to attend the 44th Annual Youth Recognition Night put on by Soroptimist International of Diablo Vista.

Where two youths that volunteered at AiN were honored.
soroptismist caseyCasey Mitchell, who was AiN’s very own Girl Scout. Casey was awarded the Violet Richardson Ward Award. Violet Richardson Ward Award was named after the first president of the first Soroptimist club in 1921. The award honors girls who are making a difference through volunteer service. This award is given to a girl who makes the community and world a better place-such as working to end discrimination and poverty, assisting women and monitoring young girls.

Autumn Green also nominated Ariana Whitmarsh who has been part of AiN volunteer staff for the past year. She is gifted in working with children with special needs; furthermore, her gift shines when working as a 1:1 with a childsoroptismist group who needs additional support. She also has a take charge attitude; she doesn’t need to be directed on what needs to be done, but see a need and takes action. Ariana often times shows as much, if not more, responsibility than adult volunteers always telling the director when she has other plans and cannot work, or when she has messed up on her schedule putting the wrong dates down. She takes full responsibility for it and never makes excuses. Because of her honesty and integrity she will be very successful in life. Autumn believes that Ariana will be a fabulous speech and language therapist!

Autumn Green, founder of All in Need Family Support and All in Need, Family Support were awarded the June Harman- Frisbie Award. This award is presented annually at “Youth Recognition Night” to an individual or organization within our community who works closely with young people.

All in Need was given the Community Service Award from Contra Costa County, Congressional Recognition certificate, and California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition.

Autumn was a little too teary eye to make her speech, but she tried.

Closing my eyes so you can fly!

I was out with some friends recently, and they always seem to believe that I have the answers or that I just don’t want to hold on as tight to my son. No, it isn’t that. It is more I want to allow myself to let go and allow my son to spread his wings. One said you are way better at letting go then I am. I don’t believe I am good at letting go, but there are a few things I do know.

1. I know that I want him to be as successful as possible. If I hold on and try to protect him and not allow him to learn from his own mistakes won’t I hinder him?
2. I know I cannot protect my typical developing son, so why do I believe I can protect my son with special needs anymore then the other.
3. I am scared to let go! But, to see him fly is one of the best blessings I could ever ask for.
4. Some times to let go I have to close my eyes and not watch or walk away, because to see the failure or the fall will break my heart.

There are days I feel like a mean parent and I feel my expectations for my son might be overboard, but when he reaches those expectations then what am I left to do, but to raise them again.

Yaakov was placed in Special Day Class-Learning Handicapped in Kindergarten and at one time I believe it was the teachers who set those goals for my son. I felt like I failed as a mother because he was a special ed student and my struggles in school must have ruined my kid. Those fears were real, and though I questioned that he would ever read. I trusted his teachers and took him to his therapies and saw him blossoming. Then it was time to raise the bar, move him into more mainstream. Keep him in mainstream sports and so on. Sure, I saw he was different and if people asked I explained I didn’t try to hide who he was. Was I scared people wouldn’t accept him, MOST DIFFERENTLY. But, I knew they would be missing out on all the things he has to offer to the world. Soon, academically he moved to mainstream and was later placed in to the Magnetic Program in middle school where we have seen major growth.

Last week, he was struggling with the science teacher still not at the point where he can confront the teacher he didn’t want my help instead he went to the behaviorist who works in the magnetic program and asked for their help. If I hadn’t stepped back as his mother or pushed him to more independent he would have never hit this expedition of ours and when he hits the work and college world in seven short years then it just maybe too late.

“Mom, I want to go down that hill” Watching my youngest son at the top of a muddy hill on his new mountain bike we had just spent 10 minutes climbing that hill. His older brother is telling me to tell him no and the fear of watching him fall and getting hurt is just about to move me to say no you cannot go down. When his father yells from the bottom of the hill, “this isn’t a good hill for a new rider to go down.” The older one still telling me say no. I look at my baby and say you are old enough to make the choice you know you can fall and get hurt. Do you want to go down?” Yes! I take a deep breath and say then go.” As I watch him head down the hill I close my eyes for a second or two because I know I will see him fall and I open them and watch him descend down the hill stopping next to his dad. Next his brother and I go down and as I hit the bottom. My baby or should I say my boy, says loudly I did it!

In my heart I hear mom, you let go and I flew! It is okay, Mom sometimes I have to fall to fly just let me go!fall