Sorry for yet another long absence. Just as I was happy to be getting back to my blog after my son's illness, my husband became critically ill with complications from the flu and pneumonia. He's home now and that means it's back to business for me!
Today is World Autism Day, and all of April is Autism Awareness Month. For those who don't know, I do indeed love someone with autism. In fact, I love two people...my sons. My older son has Asperger's Syndrome which is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. These days, thanks to intervention since he was about 3, you'd probably not even guess he is on the spectrum. My younger son is more toward the other end of the spectrum, although I'd probably put him in the middle. He doesn't speak normally, but he can communicate. He's occasionally in mainstream settings at school with an aid, but spends a large portion of his day in a special needs setting. Again, he only is where he is because of the interventions and programs designed to help him.
Each year, except for last year when I dropped the ball, I host a fundraiser to benefit programs that serve those with autism. I'm proud to announce that this year's recipient is My Place, a ministry at Curtis Lake Church in Sanford. My Place provides a safe, secure environment for children with developmental delays (and some other issues) so that they can have fun and their parents can attend a service worry-free. To our knowledge, there are no other similar programs available.
There is also a desire to expand services into a program that would facilitate social interaction amongst children with autism (among other diagnoses) on a regular basis. My younger son has an in-home support aid that works with him about 15 hours per week. They work on social skills, safety skills, etc. It is very difficult for them to find things to do in the community that facilitate social interaction and are free. And that's what My Place would love to be able to offer. The program, tentatively being called My Friends, would offer a place where children and their aids can come and interact together, free of charge. Game nights, dances and other such activities would be open to anyone in the community (and surrounding communities) free of charge to children and their parents/aids. Programs like this already exist in Portsmouth and Portland, but we want to bring one closer!
At each of my past fundraisers I have shown people how to create beautiful self-contained scrapbooks from scratch and this year's fundraiser is no exception. These scrapbooks hold up to 9 pictures each and would make PERFECT gifts for Mother's Day. The cost to participate is $20, with $15 of that going to benefit the My Place/My Friends initiative. The other $5 is to help offset my costs for the event. Each participant will receive the cardstock, ribbon and Designer Series Paper needed to create an album. Participants should bring their own adhesive as well as a paper trimmer. Extra paper trimmers will be on hand. These albums go together very quickly and should take an hour or less.
Stampin' Up! has kindly donated a box of goodies worth over $250 for this event. I have divided up the box into two bags: one name from the list of anyone participating in the fundraiser will win one bag and the other will be reserved for those who invited a new friend (not in my database) to participate with her/him.
In addition to the album-making and prize-giveaway fun, I will have many of my retired sets for sale at this event, with 100% of the sales going to benefit My Place/My Friends. AND, if anyone desires to place an order for Stampin' Up! merchandise, I will donate 100% of my instant income to the cause as well.
To sign up, please contact me at email@example.com and let me know whether you'd like the 9AM or 11AM time slot. I have three different album themes, one based on one of three Designer Series Paper collections (Ice Cream Parlor, Elegant Soiree and Greenhouse Gala). The Ice Cream Parlor collection comes with an added bonus of die-cut, self-adhesive accent pieces! Anyone signing up and paying by April 23rd will receive a bonus project featuring the Big Shot!
Please contact me today to reserve your spot and help support families affected by autism.