For my first newsletter as Executive Director I wanted to provide some background on who I am and why I chose to leave my career as an attorney and become the next Executive Director of FACT. Luckily, when Pam created the template for these newsletters she gave me the perfect section: Gotta Love this Kid.
My brother Brian was diagnosed with autism when I was very young. I have no memory of a time in my life where I was not the older brother of a sibling with autism. Growing up with Brian wasn't always easy. He is minimally vocal and was a mischievous child with a tendency for running away to jump in one of the neighbors' pools, clogging up toilets with my dinosaur toys, or climbing cabinets at our grandmother's house to steal Pop-Tarts. He may have been a handful but we have always been very close. Brian instilled in me a love and passion for working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. I began volunteering with Special Olympics and joined my first nonprofit board when I was 15 and have never looked back.
Brian was one of the very first kids with autism to participate in Camp Gonnawannagoagin' and has been going regularly for the last 20+ years. Knowing how much Brian loved Camp and how beneficial it was to him, I started working at Camp as a counselor when I was in college. Working at Camp was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved the mission, the people, the culture, the fun activities, and most importantly the kids. When I was interviewing for legal jobs years later the question of “What is Camp Gonnawannagoagin'?” would often come up. No matter who I was interviewing with my answer was always the same, “it was the best job I will ever have.”
My love for my brother and the amazing community he helped me become a part of is what motivated me to become the next Executive Director of FACT and I could not be more excited about the opportunity.
Although registration is closed, limited space is still available for some of our winter programs. Call us at 757-422-2040 if you are interested in signing up.
Bowling - Sun., Jan. 3rd to Feb. 21st, eight weeks at Pinboy's Bowling on Laskin Rd. at Hilltop. Sessions offered at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Basketball - Sat., Jan. 9th to Feb. 27th, eight weeks at Friends School gym. Sessions offered at 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Karaoke Club - Wed. Jan. 6th to Feb. 14th, eight weeks at Friends School gym from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
We at FACT are monitoring the ongoing situation with regards to COVID-19. We have implemented health screenings, temperature checks, invested in sanitizing equipment, limited group sizes, required staff to wear masks, and modified instruction to facilitate proper social distancing. We appreciate your ability to remain adaptive and flexible with us during this uncertain time. We will keep you apprised of any changes in our programming via social media and email.
Autism Research Opportunity
The May Institute is conducting research for the Department of Defense with Tricare families comparing the effectiveness of different ABA strategies. Check out the flyer below to see if you or someone you know may qualify for the study and be interested in participating.