May 2021
FACT is excited to announce this year's Lawn Party Under the Stars will be on the night of Saturday, October 9, 2021! Just like last year, we moved this event from May to October to hopefully be able to have as much of the event in-person as possible. The exact format of the event is still to be determined but we hope to once again have a bigger in-person outdoor party like in years past while also having a virtual option for those who want to attend from the comfort of home. More details to come but mark your calendars!
Give Local 757 on May 11, 2021
This year FACT has joined in with Hampton Roads' day of giving by participating in Give Local 757 next Tuesday, May 11th. CLICK TO DONATE/FUNDRAISE

Please join our campaign and help us reach our goals by creating and sharing your own fundraiser for FACT. Creating your own fundraiser is easy, just click "FUNDRAISE" and use the hashtags #givelocal757 #Spreadthefundraiser in social media posts between now and May 11th! FACT is asking you to share with your friends and family members FACT's mission, how it impacted you, and ask them to join us in helping make a difference in the Hampton Roads autism community by donating on May 11th.

Get ready to give! On May 11th, CLICK HERE and make a donation to FACT. If you can, plan to donate between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. so FACT will have the chance to win an extra $757 for most individual donations during that time.

FACT is providing some incentives. By donating as little as $10 on May 11th you have the chance to win a complimentary hotel room in the Caribbean for you and your friends (more details to come)!
Donors & Granters - FOE 3204 Eagle Riders
Join FACT and the FOE 3204 Eagle Riders on May 15th for their Poker Run to Benefit Autism! Don't have a motorcycle but still want to participate? Feel free to join the Poker Run from the comfort of your car. A big thank you to the FOE 3204 Eagle Riders for supporting FACT with their Poker Run!

Tickets can be purchased day of at the event which starts at 11:00 AM at 1061 Newtown Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
The Millers Foundation 18th Annual Charity Golf Classic
Don't forget to register now for the Miller's Foundation's 18th Annual Charity Golf Classic at Bayville Golf Club on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. FACT is the 2021 Charity Partner for this event so come support FACT and the Millers Foundation while enjoying a round of golf with your friends!
Mover & Shaker - Aly Hartung
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to celebrate one of our favorite teachers and an integral part of FACT's amazing staff. This year Aly Hartung won Teacher of the Year for her elementary school in Portsmouth!

In addition to being a rockstar educator, Aly is a crucial part of FACT. She started working with FACT in 2017 and immediately showed her dedication and passion for our kiddos. Aly was quickly promoted to group leader at Camp Gonnawannagoagin' and has been crushing it with our younger age groups for the last couple years. She and her husband Justin also run a number of our fun year-round programs, such as art and basketball. All the kids love Ms. Aly who always has a smile on her face.

In addition to being a passionate teacher, cheerful group leader for FACT, dedicated mom to her toddler Brewer, and incredible wife to Justin; she works tirelessly behind the scenes as FACT's social media director. When you see her creative graphics, pictures, and cute posts on our social media platforms (click the social media links at the top of the newsletter to follow us), be sure to give her kudos. She has a great eye for marketing and we don't know what we would do without her!
Gotta Love this Kid - Israel Watson, Jr.
Israel started coming to FACT programs 12 years ago when he was only nine years old. Like many of our participants, he started with Camp Gonnawannagoagin' but now does lots of year-round programs (his favorites are karaoke and basketball).

Israel is minimally vocal but you can always tell when he feels happy and accepted. At FACT, Israel is free to be himself and comfortable trying new things. One example of this was at FACT's Valentine's Dance. Usually Israel sticks close to his mom but when it came to the dance, he was ready for mom to leave right when he walked in the door. Israel had seen his other siblings go to school dances in the past and was so excited it was finally his turn to get dressed up and go to his very own dance.

At FACT's recent parent's night for our Karaoke program, Israel and his mother Charlotte sang a beautiful rendition of "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin (see the video above). The two lines from the song which really hit home were "It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are" and "you are perfect in all of your ways to us." Although the original song is about religion, I thought these lines were particularly powerful coming from the mother of a child with autism and her son. As the brother of someone with autism and through my time with FACT, I have seen first hand the unbreakable bond many parents form with their child with autism. Even though it is often not easy, many parents and siblings still look at their child/brother/sister as being perfect in all of their ways and accept them for who they are. There is a simple beauty in that and I wanted to give credit to Israel and his mother for sharing that special moment with us. Israel is perfect in all of his ways to us and FACT is so lucky to have him.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Camp Gonnawannagoagin' is just around the corner!

Registration for Campers and Volunteers for Camp Gonnawannagoagin' is open on our Active Registration! The weeks of Camp this summer will be:

  1. June 28-July 2
  2. July 12-16
  3. July 19-23
  4. July 26-30
  5. August 2-6
  6. August 9-13

Volunteers Needed: FACT is still looking for more volunteers for Camp Gonnawannagoagin' at the Virginia Beach Friends School for the summer of 2021! The first four weeks are open for neurotypical kids ages 10-17 and the last two weeks for ages 13-17. Click here to sign up a volunteer! Volunteers will get to enjoy community outings throughout the week including to Ocean Breeze, Camp Grom, the beach, and more! Volunteers will be assigned to campers with autism and must be willing to model expected behavior and offer acceptance and encouragement.

Staff: Staff applications can be found here and are due by May 14, 2021 this year so make sure to get them in as soon as possible! We are still looking for more staff to work for us this summer so if you know anyone (teacher, works for the school system, college student, etc.) who would be good, please send them the information. The more staff we are able to hire, the more campers we will be able to let in off the waitlist!

Campers: Although all weeks are on a waitlist, we are hopeful to be able to let in more campers once we confirm staff and know what COVID restrictions will be for the summer.

Social Programs May 2021:
Out-N-About - FACT is excited to announce social programs are back! On Sunday, May 16th from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Out-N-About will be going to the outdoor Garden Bros Nuclear Circus. We will be meeting for the event at Friends School at 12 p.m. Click here to register. Limited space available.
Social Club/Teen Time - On Saturday, May 29th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Social Club and Teen Time will be playing putt-putt at Shipwreck Golf followed by ice cream at Gelati Celesti. We will be meeting for the event at Friends School at 1 p.m. Click here to register. Limited space available. Due to FACT’s schedule and having to host this program on a holiday weekend, FACT may cancel this event if attendance is low. Thank you for understanding.

Social Programs June 2021:
Social Club/Teen Time/Out-N-About - On Saturday, June 19th from 6:20 to 9:30 p.m., Social Club, Teen Time, and Out-N-About will hit the park for a Tides Game. We will be meeting for the event at Friends School at 6:20 p.m. Registration will be live towards the end of this month on our Active Registration. Limited space available.

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.
Jump Trampoline Park: Special Needs Night!
May 12th from 6 to 8 p.m.
Special Needs Night is back at Jump Trampoline Park this month! May 12th, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • $8 per hour special needs jumper and helper (helper jumps free).
  • All jumpers must have Jump's jump socks or purchase a pair for $2.
  • Helper must be older than the special needs participant and at least 13 years of age.
  • Special needs helpers must be a legit caregiver that is with them assisting at all times.
  • Other siblings of the special needs jumper can participate as well for $8.

*This event will be shut down for YOU!
Resource for Military Families
At FACT we love our military families and wanted to share an additional resource for any military families with a family member with special needs. See above or click here for information about the Special Care Organizational Record (SCOR) from Military OneSource.
For more information about all the programs offered by Military OneSource, please click here
Virtual Training for Youth with Disabilities
Our friends at the Endependence Center recently started offering virtual training for individuals with disabilities ages 16-24. These classes meet online on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:15 and help individuals prepare and develop important living skills for the future. If you are interested in participating or want more information, contact Amy Ouellette.
Potential Job Opportunities for
Individuals with Disabilities
Anybody who has a disability and is looking for potential employment in the Hampton Roads area should check out Versability for opportunities. Click here to see their current job listings.
Special Needs Focus Group Opportunity
The Jamestown Yorktown Foundation is still actively looking for individuals, professionals and interest groups who would be willing to be part of a special needs focus group. The goal of the focus group is to help develop educational and enjoyable museum programs for those with cognitive and developmental challenges who live in our community.

If you are interested in signing up for the focus group, click here.