Our Giving Tuesday campaign helps people with ASD learn independence
I have a remarkable son. Mikey is sweet and sensitive, an amazing computer programmer, a musician and storyteller. He’s also on the autism spectrum. As an eighth-grader, he attends a great school geared to his needs. He’s looking forward to high school and hopes to go to college to study agriculture or programming.
But what awaits him after that? Publicly funded services in the state of Illinois for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) end after age 22. That’s where Urban Autism Solutions steps in. And that’s where StudioNorth voted to steer the funds from our Giving Tuesday 2018 campaign.
Stacy and Mikey Goebel
“She loves working there”
Christina Hovatter is a vocational coordinator at Urban Autism Solutions. She says, “When I graduated from college I had no idea how to be a professional. These kids face that times ten.”
Young adults with ASD need help with skills most people take for granted—getting a library card, riding public transit and connecting with people in the community. Programs at Urban Autism Solutions help them master these skills so they can hold down jobs and pursue their passions.
“We develop relationships with our clients’ families, working with them so we do nothing the clients can’t do themselves,” says Hovatter. “The whole purpose is for them to be able to maintain each activity as independently as possible.”
She points to Dori, who has worked at a bakery since October, 2017. “Dori is working 80-100 hours a month, but she says she wants to work more. For an 18-year-old to say they want to work more is really cool. She’s taking that initiative.
“One of Dori’s big goals is communication—being able to introduce herself. We had an event with 40-50 professionals in attendance, people in suits. Dori stepped up to the microphone with no hesitation and spoke for one or two minutes about her job, her boss and how much she loves working there. She just grabbed the mic and went.
“It’s incredible to see her overcome communication barriers publicly. When her peers see her being brave, and that she’s proud of her employment, it makes her a good role model for them—and for me as well.”
Raffles, spirit days and dogs
At StudioNorth, it’s our tradition to vote each year for a cause we can rally behind for Giving Tuesday. This year, I was thrilled that Urban Autism Solutions was the choice.
To raise funds, we filled our November with fun, Studio-wide activities and incentives team members could pay to enjoy. These included raffles, spirit days and the ever-popular “Bring your child and/or pet to work” day, during which eight well-behaved dogs and a couple of spirited tykes contributing to a positive energy at the Studio.
What causes did you and your organization support—and did you have as much fun as we did? Please leave a comment and tell us about your Giving Tuesday!
Social Media Manager
You know how excited Buddy the Elf gets about Santa? That's how Social Media Manager Stacy Goebel feels about new ideas. Her favorite is when she gets to think out of the box to build integrated marketing strategies for clients. She also favorites singing and raising four creative kids.