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.

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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I am a Mother! I am a Mother of a Child who has Special Needs & it is Time to Give Thanks!

I am thankful! I am a mother!  Us mothers have those moments that we look at our child with pride and are grateful that they were put in our lives.  As a mother of a neurotypical developing child, I want to give myself a high five or a pat on the back because I rock! I look at myself in the mirror and think no one can do it better than me! I am raising this boy, who is now 15 years old to be the man he was designed to be! A sophomore in high school he is already planning on moving to Oregon, so he can study to become on Occupational Therapist. He has a love for children and kids love him. His desire is to work with kids that have special needs. Of course, I know there are many wonderful mom’s out there and I would have not gotten this far if it wasn’t for my son’s father. Lets face it, it took both of us to bestow our values onto our son, and with guidance from us and our son’s own spiritual beliefs he is where he is today. I am not saying he will not have hard times, and I am not saying these next two years as he becomes more independent I will not go crazy with his rolling of his eyes, or snottiness. But, hey I cannot help but be grateful for the young man he is turning out to be. How can I not be thankful for this gift from God! As a mother we love unconditionally and only our own children can teach us this love! I am thankful! ( The oldest makes faces when it is time to take pictures because he is too cool to hang out with mom.) austin and me

 

I am thankful! I am a mother! I am a mother of child with special needs. Our life hasn’t always been easy, but I would be crazy not to be thankful for this gift from God. This gift has taught me to love unconditionally; this love has been thrown in my face by my son. Fear has tested the love, love has brought away from the shame that at times would eat me alive while being in public with a child who was out of control, frustration that my love wouldn’t be enough, at times feeling helpless knowing my love wasn’t sparing my child from a life his brother was living.  Yet, I am thankful my love accepted the adventures we faced raising a son with special needs. Thankful for the struggles we faced as a family; it was those struggles that allowed me to share our story with others and to be able to offer respite at All in Need. This same little boy set the stage for his older brother to have a desire to serve others with special needs. I am thankful!

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I am thankful I am a mother of two amazing boys who bring me joy that I could never have imagined. I am thankful that my path was paved by a very special child who has taught our family to love unconditionally other families who have similar issues. As Madam Blueberry said, “A grateful heart is a happy heart!”

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Green Family!

I Am Not a Depressed Mom Though the Anxiety May Just Eat Me Alive

 

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Just recently, I read an old Facebook post from 2010 where I said “I have been looking for hours, where did I put my of How to Parent Special Needs Kid’s Handbook?”  Within the comments I wrote “I set Yaakov off today, so bad that he wanted to kill himself. Yelling at a car that went by to run him over.”  It is hard to believe that five years ago this was our daily life. I felt like I was walking on egg shells, so as not to set my child off. Today our lives are easier, to say I don’t set him off now would be lie, but I guess I can go with the flow better than I use to, or maybe now I don’t know if he is going off because of his special needs or if it is because he is a 13 year old boy.

When he was littler and seeing a psychologist regularly the doctor would often ask me how I was holding up. He would remind me a lot of parents in my shoes would be on antidepressants and it was okay if I was depressed. It was odd back then that I didn’t feel depressed, determined would be the word I would have used. I wasn’t going to live through hours of therapies with my son, advocating for my child just to be a parent who had a child with special needs, but wanted to be a parent that made a difference for my own child and other families. So, depressed wasn’t an issue.

Yet, looking back I can now see things that I have done because I had no control of our situation. Like my house was always clean. I worked out when Yaakov was at school for several hours. All of these things are normal to a degree, but I took it little further.  My house was always clean, I mean I woke up and cleaned it, and kids went to school and I mopped and vacuumed. Kids came home I mopped and vacuumed as soon as their homework was done. I would walk my oldest to school, run home to the gym, and spend an hour and half at the gym and run home to shower. Getting done in time to walk to school to pick him up and bring him home.  Things changed when I started working at an elementary school four years ago. My house is very rarely clean and though I run and ride bikes I don’t put 6 plus miles on daily. I look back and I see what it really was I wasn’t depressed, but the only place in my life I had control was cleaning and working out. Because everything else in my life seemed to be about raising a child with special needs.

As I said, it is different now, my house isn’t clean all the time like I wish it was. I don’t workout all the time. I only run 25 miles a week and try to get in 50 miles on the bike. I have a life outside of my family which consist of work, All in Need, chamber events, and so on. But, over the years the control has changed into anxiety, massive anxiety.  I love a clean house and there is nothing like running for fun or playing in the mud but it is a healthy love not an obsession.

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I cannot handle being around people or should I say adults. I do everything I can to avoid having to be in social situations. I can typically pull myself together if it is a one on one {1:1) situation and if I can make it into something about All in Need with people I are already know, then I can typically do it.  But put me in a room of people I don’t know, and the fear of them talking to me and me falling apart is frightening. If you put me in a room of mixed people I know and don’t know it is almost worse. What if they don’t think I have my life together. What if they know that I doubt myself as a parent of a child with special needs? What if I am not classy enough for this situation because I have a child with special needs? Hell! I don’t even know if I will use the right fork during dinner.

I know some of my social issues stems back to me coming from a small town, my family didn’t have parties and I don’t remember anything formal like a gala in the small town of Oakridge,OR that I grew up in. But, it is more than that because as my youngest got worse I dreaded having people come over for dinner or for get togethers.  It became a joke, that my son got his social issues from his mother.
Just recently I was asked to go to the We Care for Children Services gala by one of their board members and I jumped at it because more than anything I wanted to support her and show how much her little boy meant to me. Then of course the anxiety stepped in. What if I don’t use the right fork. My mom jokingly told me that I had seen “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts and had learned everything that I would need to know. I didn’t think I would make it through. prety woman

Meeting up before the gala I was lucky enough that the people there didn’t even bat an eye that I was shaking so bad and fighting back tears. As, we got to the gala, I recognized a lot of the faces and many of those faces knew I was pushing my boundaries further than I have ever done before.  With the support of many wonderful ladies I didn’t just make it through, but actually enjoyed myself.  I did have a laugh, because when I seemed to have issues was during transition time which seemed all to familiar. Just like when my own son seems to struggle during transition times as well.12191407_10153724168892162_841754733445004776_nI even went out after the gala for a little bit!  A special thank you to those ladies who were patient with me. I would have never made it through the night without your support. You too Vi and Audra!

 

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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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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.

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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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.