Our Gala & Auction on Saturday was great fun and a huge success! PACE Student, Joseph Jacobson was the keynote speaker — he spoke about why he enjoys attending our school. You can view Joseph’s speech here.

After a short time away, PACE is proud to be back on the blogging trail…come join the adventure.

Just a reminder: today is the last day to make a donation before the end of PACE’s fiscal year 2010-2011. And exciting news! You can make twice the impact with your donation to PACE today. A major donor has promised that every gift received through June 30th will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $10,000! Every gift we receive makes a huge impact on the people we serve.

We have already gotten an amazing response from generous donors who have sent in their donations in the last few weeks. To join them and get in your gift in time, donate today by visiting our website www.pacificautism.org.

For an idea of how we use your funds, go to our donations portal on our website, where you can see a letter from Karen Kennan about how your gift impacts PACE’s excellence, the benefits of our philanthropic community, last year’s Annual Report, and more.
Thank you for supporting PACE (in part by reading this blog)!

Last week, our School students put on a great play called “Wait Your Turn”. The play consisted of three scenes of real-life situations where we all have to be patient, even if we don’t want to, like in the classroom before snack or at the grocery store. I was impressed with the acting chops of our students, who did a great job in front of the other five classrooms! One student, Jake, said his lines so well and with such animation that I thought I was there at the grocery store waiting in line with him.

This is just one of the examples of “Fun Fridays,” or extracurricular and fun activities that our staff work hard to put together for our students. Other events have included visits from an wildlife foundation, traditional Chinese dancers, and an Indian Holi celebration. Do you have any ideas for “Fun Fridays”?

PACE School also had their annual School Prom last month. The staff worked hard to put the “Wild West” themed event together, with plenty of Wild West decorations and a saloon painting in the front of the auditorium to take photos. Just check out the cute photos below!

 

Student Tessa and her parents

Student Tessa and her parents

 

Student Anand and staffperson Nani

Student Anand and staffperson Nani

Student Steven having fun at prom

Student Steven having fun at prom

Here’s a touching volunteer story on how you can support PACE both in large ways and small, wherever and whenever you can. As part of her dream to rent an RV and hit the road, Robin, one of our event volunteers, held a massive garage sale at the beginning of June. She decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from her garage sale to PACE. Here’s the story in her words:

First, some background on me. I’m a single mom with a wonderful 21-year-old son. But he struggled when he was in school; he seemed to have a lot of mild symptoms of Asperger’s, but for years I had a lot of trouble getting appropriate educational evaluations. But with some help he’s now in community college and working at Whole Foods, which he loves.

When I first saw PACE it was for a West Valley Class assignment.  I observed the 3-5yr old set at Early Intervention.  I had done my homework before going there, so I was somewhat familiar with the different methodologies to help Autism.  This was my first experience observing it.  I had a “moment” when one little boy sort of sidestepped near me and then gave me direct eye contact.  I knew that was huge!  That connection was a huge step for him and he did it without a teacher asking him to or manipulating the encounter.  I observed many other positive encounters that day and I reflected them in my report to class.

This led to me cooking a heck of a lot of hot dogs for the PACE Golf Tournament in May! And that led to:  “hey, why not donate some of this money from the sale of all my furniture, artwork, etc to PACE…lets keep the help going!” And this also might lead to a further idea that I’m discussing with Bridget [Holian]: doing a drive-a-thon, so-to-speak, for each mile I drive on the open road in my RV!

Note

Robin's note explaining the sale

Because of losing my job after my disability and my son moving to San Diego, I decided to make a change: sell most of my possessions and hit the open road in my RV. I’m meeting some great people in the process. Just think if every garage sale turned in a percentage to a charity—such a simple and fun thing to do! And it helps the people who buy feel better about their purchase. This trip, this process, is part of my healing, and that involves helping others heal.

I was very touched by Robin’s story, and especially her last line: “my healing involves helping others heal.” So well put. We really appreciate your donation efforts on behalf of PACE!

Have you had a similar experience to Robin’s, i.e. “healing by helping others heal”?

San Jose Giants logoDisability Awareness Night with the San Jose Giants:

Saturday, July 16th, 2011; 4:30pm-8pm,

sponsored by Miceli Financial Partners in partnership with MassMutual and Exceptional Parent Magazine.

 

To obtain free tickets go to: www.disabilityawarenessnight.eventbrite.com

Various community based organizations serving individuals with disabilities are partnering together to organize Disability Awareness Night. The game will provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, their families, care providers, and the community at large to enjoy a Free Baseball Game.

To obtain FREE TICKETS go to the link above. You can also call 408-605-1845 or email: jason@embraceallabilities.org to request free tickets.

During the game, The EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award will be presented to very deserving individuals who serve the disability community. Submit a Nomination for someone deserving of recognition for their unselfish work serving individuals with disabilities.

Nominations must be received by Friday, June 17th, 2011. For information about the Nomination Process, please email: Savalenz@sarc.org.

The Golf Classic on Monday (May 23) was a wonderful success! Around 120 golfers teed off for PACE and Autism. The fun-filled day showcased tremendous amounts of community spirit and philanthropy for PACE.

The event was held at the scenic Cinnabar Hills Golf Course in San Jose, and we really couldn’t have planned better weather–sunny and a bit breezy. The beautiful Lake and Mountain courses  served as the stage for the all-day tournament. The day was capped with a buffet dinner and silent and live auction, which included Club Seats to the San Jose Sharks and a meet and greet with Toby Keith.

There were many details that gave the tournament the PACE touch, including exciting contests like closest to the pin, longest drive, and putting, a  goodie bag valued at over $150, and a donation drawing for a golf weekend at CordeValle. Our very own Director of Finance & Administration, Nancy Brown, won the 3rd place donation drawing prize–a wine tasting for 30 at Byington Winery!

Here are some photo highlights:

Great form and a beautiful day

Great form and a beautiful day

Apparently pirates also enjoy a game of golf for a good cause

Apparently pirates also enjoy a game of golf for a good cause

Live auction excitement at the end of a great day

Live auction excitement at the end of a great day

Many community businesses also contributed as sponsors to make the event a success. Gold sponsors included Boomerang Inc., Clement Support Services, Ranger Construction Inc., and Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Inc.  Donors to our live auction include: Keith Bromberg and Susan Simpson and Bear Valley Cross Country, Robinson & Companies and Lake Tahoe Golf Course, Nate Deaton and KRTY, and Kent Russell and the San Jose Sharks.

Visit our website to find out about our upcoming events!

All proceeds benefit the PACE programs and services that you read about every month on this blog. Thank you golfers, volunteers, sponsors and donors for making the event such a success!

For Rebuilding Together Day on April 30, 2011, the Cupertino Rotary Club generously donated their time and hard work to make improvements in two of our children’s homes, Miracle and Morehouse!

Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, launched its annual initiative National Rebuilding Day on April 30. The Rebuilding Together Affiliate Network engaged thousands of volunteers like the Cupertino Rotary to participate in home renovation projects providing homes in need with critical repairs, modifications and energy efficient upgrades at no-cost to the homeowners.

Go to our website to take a look at this short video capturing the spirit of the event!

The Cupertino Rotary

The Cupertino Rotary

PACE’s former Education Director, Marcia Goldman (read about her impact on PACE in our Fall 2010 PACESetter), has been busy in retirement. Recently she visited Sunny Days Preschool and took her facilitation dog, Lola!

Lola, like Balia our therapy dog at the school, helps children with Autism and other developmental disabilities in therapeutic settings, helping these children to develop social and  language skills. And it doesn’t hurt that she is really cute!

Lola

Lola

Lola at the preschool

Lola at the preschool

Marcia and Lola will volunteer in an Autism class on Tower Rd. “So much for retirement!” Marcia laughs. Thanks so much for visiting, Marcia!

Early last month we had an educator from Japan, Aya Fukumoto, visit our School and EI sites. Here are her answers to some of our questions about what she does in Japan, what she thinks of our programs here, and what got her interested in the work.

Where do you work?

I am working in Pediatrics of Tenma Hospital. I diagnose autistic children from 2 years old. Our hospital has a rehabilitation section for children with developmental disorders, which separates speech therapy; occupational therapy; and physical therapy. I select which kind of therapy is best for each patient and instruct the therapist. I also talk to the parents about the diagnosis and what is needed for their child.

What interested you in the work?

I am interested in people with autism because of their pure mind. Their power is wonderful if they want to do something. They have always done their best and they are honest. I think they can do anything if we give them the correct direction and instruction.

What are Autism services like in Japan?

In Japan, a special educational system for developmental disorders started in 2006. That system is not only for autism but also for all developmental disorders. Nowadays a few public teachers understand current methods and are interested in children with autism, but most of the public school teachers are not interested in them. The government doesn’t understand the importance of early diagnosis or the need for an educational system for them, yet. Not so much policy is available for the people with autism.

What did you think of PACE?

I was very happy to see PACE programs from Early Intervention to Residential. I felt that the PACE School is very well structured and their schedule is well conceived. I learned that if the basic schedule is structured for an individual, sufficiently skilled staff can provide them with an effective individual program. It seems difficult for the people with autism to move from something interesting, but people with autism in PACE seem move smoothly. This is because the staff of PACE understand their students well. Moreover, the staff know a lot about autism spectrum disorders. I was happy to see that the specialists really love the people with autism there.

Autism around the world

Autism around the world

Thank you Aya! I thought her answers were fascinating in lending perspective on how Autism is viewed and Autism services are provided around the world.

What do you think of her answers, and the differences between how Autism is perceived and services provided in the U.S. and other countries?

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