Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes ….

Maybe you know this.

Maybe not.

I’m making a change to my work-life balance …. less work and more balance … well, that’s the plan in any event!

After a great deal of mulling it over, I’ve decided to spend less time working “outside the home” and spend more time taking care of myself and by extension, my family.

I’m trading in my position as a PEATC employee to become an “independent contractor” with Understood.org this week.

And since we couldn’t quite bear to say “adios” completely, I will also be providing support to PEATC in a small contract role.

I’m experiencing that nervous excitement that often accompanies the first day (back) to school as I head into a new and uncharted career waters.

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!!!

 

 

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Fairfax, VA drop-off location

Jake is pleased to announce that he has secured a toiletries drop-off location in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Jake at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, VA

Earlier today, Jake delivered an empty box to the offices of the Fairfax County Government Center; he has every hope that the box will be FULL before too long!

He had contacted the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors‘ Chairman Sharon Bulova to inquire about the possibility of listing the offices as a drop-off location for the toiletry (or related donations) to Comfort Cases.

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Jake with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova

Jake hopes to add some more drop-off sites before summer kicks into high gear.  But, for now, we hope local folks will bring donations to Chairman Sharon Bulova’s office in the Fairfax County Government Center between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday:

Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 530
Fairfax, VA 22035-0079

People interested in donating can also contact me via the comments, Facebook, or Twitter.  You can also contact Comfort Cases and tell them Jake sent you!

Many thanks and a special #ShoutOut to Clayton Medford, Chairman Bulova’s Chief of Staff for assisting Jake in this request.

Going on vacation this summer? Jake’s got a question for you …

Jake knows summer is coming and he knows that means vacation and traveling for many folks. And for some of you, it might mean a hotel stay. And if you are a Washington Redskins player, like Jake’s buddy Nick Sundberg, it means an extended hotel stay while you are at training camp!!

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You end up with a lot of toiletries after you attend training camp!!

Jake also knows that people often travel for work.  He knows that many of my PEATC colleagues travel to various locations across Virginia to train parents of children with Special Needs and/or children receiving Special Education services.

If your plans in the near future involve a hotel stay, for business or pleasure, Jake would like you to save your toiletry items for him.

Why does a 12-year-old with Autism & ADHD need toiletries?  Well, they are not for Jake, but for Comfort Cases!

Comfort Cases is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides children ages 0-18 who are in the foster care system with a bag filled with essential needs as well as comfort items.

So … back to toiletries!!!

If you are familiar with Jake, you may be aware that he is a fan of logos, branding, and graphics.  He also likes sorting, counting, and categorizing.  When given a big bag of toiletries, he loves nothing better than looking at what hotel chain they came from and then sorting into categories by type.  It is a task that appeals to his sense of order and structure, not to mention the visual elements.

Sooooooo … all this to say … Jake would love it if you’d save those toiletries that you were more than likely stuff into *that* drawer in your home and forget about … and give them to Jake as part of his collection project for Comfort Cases.

Not traveling but still want to help Jake’s project and Comfort Cases? Well, they are also looking for the following NEW items to supply to kids and youth entering foster care:

  • Small duffel bags/backpacks
  • Pajamas/Sleepwear – Sizes Newborn through Adult XXL
  • Small Blankets – Up to Throw Size (40″ x 60″)
  • Toothbrushes – Youth & Adult
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Coloring Books
  • Crayons
  • Journals
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Books

If you’d like to learn more about the genesis of Comfort Cases and founder Rob Scheer, please check out his story from his interview on the Today Show:

http://www.today.com/video/meet-the-man-whose-childhood-in-foster-care-inspired-nonprofit-for-kids-839453763557 and the Comfort Cases website: https://www.comfortcases.org/.

If you are interested in supporting Jake in his effort to show that kids (even kids with disAbilities) can help other kids, please leave a comment on this post or reach out to me via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram so we can coordinate pickup/delivery of donations.

We are hoping to arrange some drop off locations, so please stay tuned!

So, Happy Travelling, and remember the kids entering foster care who would take so much comfort in something so simple!

Thank you!

Just over 1 month to go …

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Thinking about … the holidays!
Where has November gone?

 

Wasn’t it 80 degrees outside one day last week???

 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK (and I need to get my shopping done; at least I have a great helper in Jake … he LOVES the grocery store!).

 

 

Well, ready or not, the Christmas and Holiday rush is really going to start in earnest now.

 

So, if you haven’t already, would you please consider helping Jake to make the season a little brighter for kids who are not able to spend the holidays at home?  Jake is working hard to collect fleece to make blankets during the Dreams For Kids DC (DFKDC) upcoming

 

Jake and other DFKDC participants will transform into volunteers during this event, participating in activities (such as assembling blankets) that will benefit others in our community!

 

To date, Jake has collected about 5 1/2 yards of solid colored fleece and about 22 3/4 yards of printed fleece. 

 

He has enough print fleece to make a single side of 15 blankets (in sizes from toddler to young adult) and enough solid fleece to complete 3 blankets; would need 12 “matching” sizes of solid colors to make 15 total blankets.

 

Sizes of Printed Fleece
– 8 x 1 1/2 yards (need 7 solid pieces to complete)
– 2 x 1 2/3 yards (need 2 solid pieces to complete)
– 2 x 2 yards (COMPLETE)
– 2 x 1 yards (need 2 solid pieces to complete)
– 1 x 1 1/3 yards (need 1 solid piece to complete)
Jake will continue to collect fleece (or donations to purchase fleece) through December 16.

 

Please DM me or contact Glenda Fu if you are interested in donating to this project!

From IDEA to high expectations, opportunity, and beyond! #IDEA40

On Nov. 29, 1975, the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), guaranteed access to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment to every child with a disability. Subsequent amendments, as reflected in the IDEA, have led to an increased emphasis on access to the general education curriculum, the provision of services for young children from birth to five, transition planning and accountability for the achievement of students with disabilities.

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Thanks to IDEA, children like Jake not only have the opportunity to have an education that meets a their unique needs, but also an education that prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living. In Jake’s case, this may take the form of a career in the culinary arts … Jake has often expressed a desire to work for Wegmans, and more recently, at Wegmans’ “The Pub” restaurant.

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Jake began his academic journey in December 2006 shortly before turning 2 1/2 years old. It’s not a stretch to say there was hesitation on my part, putting my “baby” on a school bus, but, I see now what a great gift IDEA has been to Jake and our entire family.

I am also thankful for the establishment of Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and their role in educating, training, and supporting parents like myself. I am so appreciative of PTIs, I now work for Virginia’s, which is called PEATC. I am happy to be in a position to put my Library and Information Science background coupled with my personal experience as a parent of a child with a disability to good use!

Happy 40th Birthday, IDEA … I can’t wait to see what you look like in another 5 to 10 years!!