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Old February 9th, 2017, 08:05 AM   #661
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

4 Paws for Ability is a Greene County, Ohio-based nonprofit that enriches the lives of children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, by training and placing quality, task-trained service dogs. This provides increased independence for the children, including in other areas like Pottsville, Pennsylvania...
Quote:
Matthew Peleschak is a cute 8-year-old boy with big plump cheeks and a love for his ipad and playing with a toy-slot machine with his little brother and sister

But despite that their brother is older, playing with him can be difficult.

And to show that the family loves Matthew, they're trying to get him a dog to help him. they've teamed up Four Paws For Ability, a nonprofit that provides trained dogs to children who live with disabilities. The average cost for a dog is about $22,000, of which, 7-thousand must be fundraised.

The dog would basically serve as both his best friend and guardian angel. It will help him live an independent life.

And to get the dog, the family is fundraising. They're selling handbags, marykay makeup and t-shirts online, local schools donate dress down day money to them, and even local resurants are helping out with penny jars

So far, the family has about $2,000, but thay piggy bank is quickly growing...
Here is a link to a video of the guide dog interacting with the above-mentioned boy and his family: https://www.facebook.com/matthew4paw...5723835024972/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 11th, 2017 at 10:48 AM.
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Old February 11th, 2017, 10:50 AM   #662
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Schuylkill County Autism Society (SCAS) is a Orwigsburg/Frackville, Pennsylvania based nonprofit that has helped make life a little easier for those dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the county for the past decade. The nonprofit's goal is to provide information, support and resources to individuals with autism and autism spectrum disorders, their families, professionals and community awareness activities, education and research...
Quote:
Several parents gathered Sunday to "compare scores," but everyone was a winner at the sixth annual Sensory Picnic hosted by the [SCAS].

"When parents of autistic kids get together, there's often a lot of sharing stories like someone learned how to ask for something or quoted something correctly or wash up on their own," Sasha Eidinov, Pottsville, said. "These are like our baseball scores. It may not seem like much, but it's the little accomplishments."

Eidinov was one of about 70 people - parents and children - who attended the picnic...

Judy Barket, society president and picnic organizer, said the event was held to allow children to meet some of their peers, socialize and experience new things.

"There were several interactive stations that allowed the children to get to do things that they might not otherwise do on their own," Barket said.

Jessica Mennig, Pottsville, a society board member, was responsible for a tie-dying station that she called an educational opportunity mixed with fun.

"It's stimulating and allows for color recognition and honing of fine motor skills," Mennig said.

Barket said the picnic, like other events and meetings the society holds, helps to foster a community.

"This allows parents to network and talk about common daily hurdles that we have," Barket said.

Jim ...Pfeiffenberger [and his wife], Pottsville, said that was one of the most important parts of the day for their family.

"It helps us to get ideas and exchange ideas, learn what might have worked for someone that may work for our child," [Mrs.] Pfeiffenberger said.

Mennig also said the more relaxed and informal atmosphere of the picnics, compared to society meetings, was helpful.

"They can relax, they can meet others and just socialize a little more naturally," Mennig said.

Eidinov ...thinks events like this help parents come together and celebrate their children.

"Everybody loves their kids," Eidinov said. "It's a great day for all of us to know we're not alone. We're not the only ones."

The society meets monthly...
Here is a link to photos of the SCAS' annual sensory picnic from over six years ago: republicanherald.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?iframe=1&event=1085068&CategoryID=52561/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 12th, 2017 at 09:49 AM.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 11:11 AM   #663
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, based in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate, educate, and provide services and support for people with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties has hosted a 'Wings for Autism' event for the past couple of years...
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Families of autistic children will have an opportunity next month to practice air travel without ever leaving the ground.

The Arc of Northampton and Lehigh counties partnered with Lehigh Valley International Airport and Allegiant Air to organize "Wings for Autism." It's geared toward autistic children...

The event is based on a pilot program developed by the Arc of the United States and completed at large hubs across the country, including Logan International Airport in Boston, according to Bruce Seidel, development director for Arc of Lehigh and Northampton counties.

In planning since last November, Wings for Austism will be held May 9, and the program was at capacity within a day or two after registration opened, Seidel said. The event was limited to about 240 participants because it involves boarding a jet, he said.

Airline travel, particularly the lengthy security check process, is something that those with [various challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders] can find very challenging, often preventing families from traveling, Seidel said. The Wings for Autism event will allow families to simulate the process of air travel, he said.

Families are scheduled to arrive at the Allegiant ticketing desk at 9 a.m. to begin the process. From there, they will go through a regular security screening process and make their way through the terminal.

Passengers will board an airplane that will taxi down a runway, offering as complete an experience as possible, Seidel said.

The event will include more than 40 volunteers to assist families along the way, offering information on how to handle certain situations. It could be something simple a family never considered, such as bringing along headphones to combat the noise associated with takeoff, Seidel said.

"In the event they plan to travel, this gives them real-life experience about where their family member, who has a disability, has trouble along the trail," he said.

There are many "moving parts" in organizing an event like this, and organizers are just trying to get through the first one, Seidel said. But based on the tremendous interest in this event, Arc is already considering a second program, he said.


...As the Lehigh Valley continues to evolve and become more diverse, programs like next month's Wings for Autism can lend to that growth, Seidel said. As large employers, for instance, recruit to the area, that may include families of children with a developmental disability, he said.

"In the consideration process for accepting a job here, a big factor is what kind of community am I moving to," Seidel said. "What services and programs are available?"...
Here is a link to a video on the nonprofit's 'Wings for Autism' event from a couple of years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3BNCM2EWrQ/


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 23rd, 2017 at 10:32 AM.
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Old February 18th, 2017, 10:26 AM   #664
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

Dragonfly Forest is a Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides overnight camping experiences for children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. The nonprofit provides a full Autism Summer Program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
Last summer, 8-year-old Scott Jones was nervous about going to sleep away camp for the first time?especially about being away from his mom. But after a week filled with swimming, boating, hiking, ...games, and arts and crafts at Dragonfly Forest camp in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Scott had such a great time that he wanted to go back the next week--and the one after that.

This type of experience is just what the camp aims to give: one where kids with disabilities, including those with autism, like Scott, can enjoy an unforgettable week. "Generally speaking, when you ask people about their most favorite memories, they're not in therapy, or school, or in the classroom," says Sylvia van Meerten, the camp's program director. "Their favorite memories are when they were intentionally pulled away from life to have fun. We're here to do just that--give them a week based on fun."

Founded in 2001, Dragonfly Forest offers free summer sessions ...and in TK year expanded to provide a session for children on the autism spectrum as well...

Now, the yearly session attracts nearly 200 campers, on all ranges of the spectrum, from Pennsylvania and neighboring states. (And the program is quickly expanding to include after-school sessions...)

The staff takes pride when visitors say it looks like a 'regular camp,'...

The camp includes facilities you would find at many traditional camps: dorm-style housing, a 14-acre lake, a rope elements course, a zip line, tennis courts, hiking trails, a gym, and an arts and theater center.
But the staff does take measures to make sure Dragonfly Forest is well suited to kids on the spectrum. The key: to relieve their anxiety in social situations, says van Meerten. Kids with autism have a hard time picking up social cues and predicting what will happen next, which can make them anxious and nervous, she explains. "A typical person would feel anxious in a different culture where things don't make sense," van Meerten explains. "Kids with autism feel like that all the time in everyday life."
To alleviate this stress, the staff provides information booklets before camp starts, sticks to schedules, and offers detailed explanations before every activity and meals so campers know what to expect. (Van Meerten even gave out her personal email to answer last-minute questions before the start of the session.)
Counselors, who are trained each summer for four to seven days, are assigned to an individual camper for the session, with a counselor/camper ratio of 2:1...

And it's not just the kids' stress that Dragonfly hopes to relieve--the program is free in an effort to ease the financial burden for families.

...And possibly the biggest plus of all: Once camp is over, the kids head home with a newfound sense of confidence and independence...

Case in point: Scott wouldn't try the zip line at a friend's house before Dragonfly. After conquering the zip line over the summer, the family added a mini-zip line to the backyard. "[Scott] is the kind of kid that hangs back and assesses the situation," his mother Rebecca says. "His hang-back time is a little bit shorter now."
Here is a link to a video from Dragonfly Forest from last year:


Last edited by Visionary7903; February 19th, 2017 at 06:09 AM.
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Old February 21st, 2017, 10:28 AM   #665
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

Variety -- The Children's Charity of the Delaware Valley is a Worcester, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that has continued its mission to build independence and self-confidence in individuals with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The nonprofit offers educational, recreational and social enrichment activities...
Quote:
Last January, Noelle Murphy and her family were on their way to the Please Touch Museum for children in Philadelphia. Right before they arrived, 3-year-old Dylan had an accident.

...Dylan has autism, and his mom, Noelle, tends to choose at-home activities over unpredictable outings like a day at the museum. ...when strangers around them are added to the mix, it can make for an embarrassing scene.

But that day at the museum was different for the Murphys.

They took advantage of Play without Boundaries -- an hour of museum time for kids with special needs. No weirdness, no awkward explanations, just families with other families who understand the challenges of being in public with kids who are on the autism spectrum.

...Murphy said[:] "It was an extremely different experience than what we are used to."

A study released Monday by the American Alliance of Museums finds more and more of these centers for learning and preservation are also places where health awareness is on display. The Please Touch Museum is one of over 30 museums in the U.S. that has responded to the special needs of visitors with autism.

"My first reaction in the car on the way home was to cry," Murphy said. "My husband asked why I was crying, and I said it was so nice to finally take him somewhere other kids go without having to worry about an unpleasant experience ... for us and those around us."

But it's not always easy to take a kid with autism out into the world, especially a museum. ...For these youngsters, if a place doesn't have appropriate accommodations, museum-going is a no-go for much of their childhood. That's because so often, what seems like a fun diversion ends up causing feelings of anxiety and sometimes panic.

That's why some museums have made special accommodations. "During those hours the museum looks different," said Leslie Walker, Please Touch Museum's vice president for community learning.

Flashing lights are dimmed, and booming music is turned down. Kids who want a sense of security about their visit are encouraged to create custom schedules and maps beforehand. And museum employees who will teach kids about the exhibits go through sensitivity training to learn what needs a child with autism might have to interact like their peers.

"They know now to bend down and get on that kid's level, and to wait awhile before following up if they ask a question," Walker said.

At museums that acknowledge not every kid craves raucous, stimulating sights to have a good time, parents of children with autism find public places where they can be themselves. And they don't have to miss out on experiencing another childhood pastime with their kids, like getting lost in a museum.
Here is a link to a video on the Please Touch Museum:



Last edited by Visionary7903; February 22nd, 2017 at 06:14 AM.
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Old February 23rd, 2017, 11:01 AM   #666
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

In neighbouring Maryland, Pathfinders for Autism is a Baltimore County, Maryland-based nonprofit that has grown into the State's largest autism organization dedicated to helping individuals, parents, and professionals find resources, supports, and training while working to increase the awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Similar to other non-profits, Pathfinders is supported by grants and independent fundraisers...
Quote:
...Rebecca Rienzi - Pathfinders' director of outreach and community partnerships - works with local organizations such as the Port Discovery Children's Museum and the Maryland Science Center to help coordinate activities with autistic children. Usually, the trips are during off-peak times, when the crowds are smaller. She makes sure the venues have a quiet room reserved in case there is an episode. So far, she said, they haven't had to use one of the rooms.

This past spring, when Rienzi helped put together a trip to the Science Center, she asked the employees to turn down the sound effects to keep children from getting overstimulated. She also told them what kinds of behavior to expect from the children. The trip, which was sold out in advance, was a hit, she said.

"Families were mingling," she said. "There was no one questioning why somebody had a stroller..." she said...
Here is a link to a short video from the nonprofit: https://www.facebook.com/Pathfinders...4993633436465/


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Old February 24th, 2017, 10:34 AM   #667
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of yesterday's post was Pathfinders for Autism, a Baltimore County, Maryland-based nonprofit that has grown into the State's largest autism organization dedicated to helping individuals, parents, and professionals find resources, supports, and training while working to increase the awareness of autism spectrum disorders and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Similar to other non-profits, Pathfinders is supported by grants and independent fundraisers.

Trellis Services, also based in Baltimore County, Maryland, specialises in serving children with Autism and other related disorders using the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Trellis's Love to Learn is a child-led, teacher-directed program that provides 1:1 instruction to children between the ages of 18 months and 5-years-old using the Applied Verbal Behaviour methodology...
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...One of the Trellis services is The Trellis School, a non-public elementary school. From pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, their curriculum places emphasis on teaching one-on-one or in small groups using an Applied Behavior Analysis methodology, a process which focuses on the goal of a target behavior and the interventions applied to achieve that goal. They carefully gather data through practices with a child and analyze the data in order to pinpoint how exactly they should approach an intervention and better a child's way of learning and life.

By focusing on the child's motivation and creating language opportunities, they hope to create a naturally playful environment. Suzanne Heid, one of the executive directors of Trellis Services and a [University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)] alumna, said, "We are very family and child centered. Seeing where a child's motivation lies and what excites them in the learning process is what motivates us."

Diana Campitelli, another executive director, specializes in Autism Waiver Services. The Maryland State Autism Waiver is a Medicaid program that provides goal-directed services in the homes and communities of children with autism spectrum disorder.

She said, "Trellis began as an autism waiver provider under the Maryland Medicaid Waiver. It's designed to support the whole family unit and work on specific items in order to help improve behaviors, establish independence and develop useful skills." They hope to not only help children excel in school, but also in life.

Mia Blom is the marketing manager representing Trellis Services. She said, "Trellis currently provides services to over 200 families in Maryland..."

UMBC students have toured Trellis Services before in their old location in Hunt Valley. They are pleased to spread awareness of the resources they have to offer to the autism community. Blom said, "In honor of Autism Awareness Month, this is great opportunity for UMBC students to see what other services are out there for individuals with autism."
Here is a video from Trellis Services from a couple of years ago:


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Old February 25th, 2017, 10:01 AM   #668
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of the last couple of posts has been on Autism-related events and organisations in Maryland.

Maryland is also home to the annual 'Baltimore Autism Speaks Walk'. The event raises funds for Autism Speaks, North America's leading Autism science and advocacy organisation...
Quote:
When 7,000 Autism Speaks participants lined up at Camden Yards for the annual Baltimore walk on November 12, as many as 350 enthusiastic seventh-graders from Chesapeake Bay Middle School lingered among the crowd.

...The seventh-graders at Chesapeake Bay Middle School became involved in raising money for autism awareness six years ago when the teachers were trying to select a service-learning project for them.
"The teachers wanted something that would be meaningful to students," said Embrey. "In talking with them, it was apparent that almost all of them either had a family member, a neighbor, or a classmate on the autism spectrum. So we set our project up as a walkathon to raise money for autism awareness and, after some research, we decided that the recipient of our funds would be the group Autism Speaks."
In their first year, Embrey's team of approximately 130 students raised $7,400. The next year, the Black-Eyed Susans were joined by another seventh-grade team and raised nearly $12,000.

...The seventh-graders have teamed together for the last three years and have raised approximately $10,000 every year.
"Altogether, in the five years we have been fundraising, we have raised about $50,000 for Autism Speaks," said Embrey. "Each year, we basically set it up so that the students get pledges for donations for the laps they run or walk. The first three years, we used the track at the high school, but in recent years, we have set up a course at our own school."
Embrey believes that students have become so invested in the Autism Speaks project because almost everyone is touched by autism.
Fundraising efforts begin with an awareness kickoff, where one of the CBMS teachers speaks to the entire class and describes her life raising a child with autism. The presentation gives the students insight about the challenges faced and expenses families experience when raising a child with autism.
"The assembly and subsequent discussion of autism allow students to also share their experiences with people they know and the difficulties they and their families have," said Embrey. "Teachers show videos about how hard it is for families to raise a child with autism, emotionally as well as monetarily."
CBMS also makes the fundraising competitive, with the top fundraisers earning an invitation to a pizza and ice cream party. "With autism becoming more prevalent, I think our students, through much discussion, see the need for raising funds for this worthwhile charity, and most of them want to help others as much as they can," said Embrey.
Students will hold another walkathon next April, designated Autism Awareness Month, with a goal of meeting or exceeding their goal of raising at least $10,000.
With CBMS being recognized as one of the top fundraising schools in Maryland for Autism Speaks, the organization awarded the teachers an oversized reclining chair for their commitment and dedication to Autism Speaks.
Donations are being accepted through December 31, 2016...
Here is a link to a short video on the 'Walk' from four years ago:


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Old March 2nd, 2017, 10:27 AM   #669
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in Maryland.

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Baltimore, Maryland-based nonprofit Kennedy Krieger Institute, is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary program serving children, families, and professionals in the autism spectrum disorders community. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders combines research, clinical service, a therapeutic day program, and training programs...
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Pete Vasco, of Sykesville, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday night's Baltimore Orioles game in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month.

His son, 3-year-old Ronnie Vasco, attends an Early Achievements program at Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore. They were joined at Orioles Park by Ronnie's mother, Megan, and sister Sophia.

"Yes, I am a little bit nervous, actually," Pete Vasco said before the pitch. "I have not (done this before) but I've seen a lot of video of people not doing it very well, but I'll be fine."

The Orioles, the team's charitable arm OriolesREACH and Major League Baseball partnered with Autism Speaks to host Autism Awareness Night on Friday at Camden Yards, where local leaders in promoting autism awareness were honored for their contributions to the initiative in a pregame ceremony, according to a team news release.

Discounted tickets were sold to the game, with $5 for every ticket sold benefiting Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

"We're here today to honor our son, who every day inspires us because he was given a really short straw," Vasco said. "Every day, he improves... So it's very important for us to be here."...
Here is a link to a video, developed by Rebecca Landa, Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders:


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Old March 4th, 2017, 07:31 AM   #670
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in Maryland.

Surfers Healing, a Southern California-based nonprofit, is the original surf camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Ocean City, Maryland Chapter of Surfers Healing raises funds throughout the year to offer the camp free of charge, to local children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
Liam Malacas let out a piercing scream.
He kicked and wriggled as a set of skilled hands hoisted him into the air.
He was dragged toward the water, his cries muffled by the sound of the waves.
To someone watching, the scene looked grim, perhaps.
But Malacas was perfectly safe and exactly where he was supposed to be.
In fact, his parents were close by watching everything unfold for Liam, and their 6-year-old son Aiden.
They were smiling and waving -- cheering on their autistic, 3-year-old son while tears streamed down their faces.
"It's OK Liam," his mother Alona Malacas said. "It's OK baby."

The Malacas' brought their son to Ocean City on Wednesday, Aug. 17, for a special reason.
Not to watch him cry out in distress but to see him do something he has never done before -- surf.
They traveled from Baltimore to Ocean City to participate in a surfing camp with a simple message.

...More than 100 families participated in this year's local surf camp, held at 37th Street in Ocean City.
Kat Trammel, co-chairwoman of the Ocean City chapter, said the power of the event never ceases to amaze her. She created the local camp, featuring surfing sessions, free food, arts and crafts, music and games with Woody German and Kelly and Dale Loeser seven years ago.
Together, they've helped hundreds enjoy a day at the beach.
The two are hoping to expand the event from one day to two, depending on the availability of the surfers, many of which travel from New Zealand, Australia, California, Hawaii and other places around the world.

Laura Mazza's 8-year-old son Jude, has participated for the last three years.
"He absolutely loves it," she said. "And I love it, too. It's wonderful getting to watch him light up out there."
The event helps Mazza and her family feel normal by allowing them to relish in a day without fear and anxiety, and potential judgment from others.

"Here, you are surrounded by people who truly get what you're going through," she said. "It's like we're all reading the exact same book of life, we're just on different pages and adding in our own chapters. It's incredibly uplifting."
The families aren't the only ones who feel it.
Ask anyone who has experienced Surfers Healing, whether as a participant, volunteer or a spectator, and they are likely to tell you that there is something truly magical that happens.
Rob Tinus, a local surfer from [Worcester County], knew it the moment he saw the camp in action seven years ago. He has been volunteering ever since.
"I just knew I had to be a part of it," he said. "Surfers Healing is a beautiful thing."

Tinus describes the annual event as one of the most fun and rewarding he's ever experienced.

..."Your heart feels for them," he said. "...when you get out there with them, the tension disappears. They stop yelling, they stop clenching their fists and they become calm.
"It's like they find peace."

...Alona and RJ Malacas stood on the beach holding one another.
Their son, Liam, was no longer screaming.
Instead, he was smiling, perched on top of a volunteer surfer's shoulders.
The crowd cheered as the pair rode into shore, and Liam reluctantly set foot on solid ground.
He was presented with a small golden trophy. He inspected it, held it triumphantly in the air and ran toward his parents.
"I was worried," Alona Malacas said. "But I'm glad we did this. We're never going to forget what they gave us today."
Here is a link to a video from the Ocean City, Maryland Chapter of Surfers Healing from more than four years ago: https://www.facebook.com/27322927935...6539296026450/


Last edited by Visionary7903; March 5th, 2017 at 07:16 AM.
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agricultural , autism , employment , revolution , rural , specialisterne , spectrum


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