Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now

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Jake thinks Dreams For Kids DC is “so great” to help Dress For Success!

I often wonder what is going on inside Jake’s head … he often requires prompting to respond when others speak to him.  And when he does speak, he has a reputation of not being the most “reliable witness”, as I like to say …. he has Echolalia (fairly typical for individuals with Autism) and tends to repeat the last thing he hears.

But, when Jake initiates a “conversation”, it’s very intentional … so it’s important to listen carefully.

On Monday morning, following our visit to the Dress For Success boutique, he was talking about all the different things he saw there, referring to it as “the thrift store”. He mentioned all the purses and bags we dropped off, but he was equally interested in listing the other items, such as belts, shoes, pants, skirts, and makeup.

I asked some clarifying questions, and, with Jake’s input, determined that:

  1. Jake wants to continue to help Dress For Success in conjunction with Dreams For Kids DC
  2. We should ask some clarifying questions of our own ….

Jake will let you know what he finds out!

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It’s a wrap (Part Two)

Following the incredible time we had at the DFKDC Holiday Celebration on Saturday, December 19, 2015, it was time to share all the gifts created, donated, collected, wrapped, decorated, and stuffed. Volunteers like Jake helped to distribute the gifts, cards, ornaments, and other items to area recipients.  Jake helped to deliver 300+ purses and bags stuffed with toiletries to the Dress For Success boutique in Washington, DC.

We met with Kelli Jones to deliver the purses and bags and to get a look at how Dress For Success helps women in the Washington DC area.

Jake likened the Dress For Success boutique to a “thrift store” … he enjoys “thrifting” (thrift store shopping) quite a bit. He views all the items as NEW, since they are new to him. He’s my favorite shopping companion … he seems to enjoy the “thrill of the hunt” almost as much as I do!

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Well, all that to say that Jake seems keenly interested in continuing to help Dress For Success via Dreams for Kids DC … STAY TUNED!!!!!!

 

It’s a wrap! (Part One)

I had a bit of trouble sleeping on Friday night.

I wasn’t worried or stressed, but excited and looking forward to the 2015 Dreams For Kids DC (DFKDC) Holiday Celebration. This year’s celebration was designed to be different from the previous “legacy” DFKDC Holiday For Hope event; this year’s celebration was focused on the abilities of children and youth with physical and developmental disabilities to give back to the less fortunate in their community.

On Saturday, the usual DFKDC participants were transformed into volunteers … they participated in such activities as:

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Participants and volunteers

– Wrapping over 300 presents for children served by the DC Metro Adoptive and Foster Parent Association

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– Decorating 200+ cupcakes for DC Central Kitchen
– Creating 200+ ornaments and cards for the residents of the Armed Services Retirement Home
– Stuffing 250+ purses with toiletries to benefit Dress For Success DC.

Each volunteer activity was an experience meant to show DFKDC participants that their disability cannot hold them back from performing their own philanthropy!

Another “break with tradition” in this year’s celebration was the recognition of DFKDC’s “2015 Participants of the Year”:
– Jake & Sofia Arbeen
– Adrian Freeman
– Michael Rivera
– Jackson Roth
– Caleb Timmons

The Washington Nationals‘ starting pitcher Gio González was on hand to present the participants with their awards.

The 2015 DFKDC Holiday Celebration was made possible by individuals and organizations in the DC Metro area who are passionate about giving back and being involved in their communities:
Michael and Son Services, Inc.
DARCARS Toyota Scion Silver Spring
McKinley Technology High School
Guest House Events
Ferrari & Associates, P.C.
Delta Produce
Kitchen Cray
Coca Cola
Dynamic Advertising Solutions
Print OTC
Gap of Tyson’s Corner Center
Snapshot Moments
RePurpose Jewelry
– DJ Art
Connect the Dots Dance Company
– Tiffany Nickerson and PWMPC
DJ Philipz and PHILIPZIE

And now a few words about the Sister …

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DFKDC Baseball Clinic

When it comes to advocates, Jake has the best in the business …. his sister, Sofia!

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Jake & Sofia sharing a “hongi”, or traditional Maori greeting,

Sofia will be a co-recipient of Dreams For Kids DC‘s “Outstanding Participant” award this Saturday at the DFKDC Holiday Celebration.

She has also been a great help to Jake in his service project to benefit Dreams For Kids DC and Dress For Success DC.

Thank you, Sofia, for being such a great sister!!

Home Stretch

We are in the home stretch of Jake’s Community Service Project benefiting Dreams for Kids DC (DFKDC), Dress for Success DC, and DC-area homeless in conjunction with the DFKDC Holiday Celebration THIS Saturday, December 19, 2015! Jake’s goal of collecting 100 purses & toiletry items to put in the purses was easily met, and in fact, greatly surpassed.

In out house alone, we currently have 1400+ toiletry items, which means we will be able to “stuff” at least 14 items per purse!!

As Jake’s mom, I have immeasurable gratitude to Glenda Fu, Executive Director of DFKDC for recognizing Jake (and sister, Sofia) as “Outstanding DFKDC Participants” … who could have predicted that the recognition of an 11 year old boy with Autism as an “Outstanding Participant” would have:

  • led to a desire to “do something for the adults” in honor of the Christmas holidays
  • led to such an outpouring of generosity from folks near and far, family, friends, and strangers alike
  • led to a greater sense of not only self-advocacy, but of advocacy for others
  • led to a greater recognition by others of the abilities of kids like Jake, not just their disabilities

Dreams For Kids DC (DFKDC) – you can proudly say “mission accomplished” … you have provided life-changing activities and opportunities that have empowered Jake to interact with members of the community, both with and without disabilities, and to compassionately change his little corner of the world for the better.

 

Over the Top!!!!!!!!!!

Ok … so, you may or may not remember my VERY FIRST blog post … but in it I stated that I was feeling overwhelmed.

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Sorting & counting contributions from dad’s U.S. Secret Service coworkers & the St. Luke’s Ordinariate Community 

Well, I’m feeling that way again.

But, it’s not stress-related.

I’m overwhelmed by the power of LOVE …

… αγαπη  (agapē)

… caritas

… charity

Thanks to the generous and loving hearts of friends, family, and perfect strangers, Jake has surpassed his goal of collecting 100 purses!

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If you dream it, you can do it!!!!!

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, we read the following announcement from Dreams For Kids DC Executive Director, Glenda Fu:

“We have astounding great news! Jake has broke his goal of 100 purses for Dress for Success Washington, DC! We are at 180 purses and about 800 toiletries, meaning approximately 5 little presents going into each bag for underprivileged women in DC! Congrats Jake – you are our hero!”

Ummmmm … what?!?!?!?

“Without love, alms giving is no more important an activity than brushing your hair or washing your hands.” – Thomas Merton

Thank you all so much for your support!