Friends & Neighbors

It’s here! Summer (the 1st “official” day of Summer, that is) is finally here!

 

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Yippeeeee! Summer!

 

In addition to school nearly being over for the year, Jake’s excited about all the donations he’s been getting!

We received an email from Supervisor John Cook‘s office on Monday telling us that the collection box had some items in it and a note! How mysterious!!

 

We headed over to Kings Park Library (where Supervisor Cook’s office is located) to pick up the items and the note.  The note was from “neighbor and friend” Jeanette, who thanked Jake for his role in helping kids in foster care in our community by supporting Comfort Cases.

Jeanette, we are thankful for generous friends and neighbors like yourself!!

Jake and I are looking forward to taking what he’s collected so far to the Comfort Cases Center Rockville next week AND spending some time volunteering at the center!

We hope you’ll continue to collect NEW toiletry items to benefit Comfort Cases throughout the summer!

 

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A little progress and another drop-off location

The school year is winding down and summer is revving up … and Jake has an additional spot for you to drop off toiletries for his Comfort Cases collection project!

You can drop NEW toiletry items at the office of Braddock District Supervisor John Cook in Burke, VA; his office is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday (excluding holidays) and is located in the Kings Park Library at 9002 Burke Lake Road, Burke, VA 22015.

Jake is happy to report that he has already received some donations to his project, both monetary and supplies! Jake wishes to thank all his generous friends: Ms. Laura, Ms. Martha, and Ms. Gwendolyn for the donations made directly to Comfort Cases; Ms. Suzanne and Ms. Courtney at PEATC, for their recent contribution of toiletries; and Ms. Tina for the toiletries she saved from a recent trip!

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Thanks, Ms. Tina!

Jake is really forward to sorting all the toiletries collected so far! But, please keep collecting them as you travel this summer … he’ll be in collecting mode through early September!

 

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!

The Giving Season

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, and I will need to go back and document a few events from the summer months, but right now, I’m going to write about Jake’s continued commitment to #GivingBack.

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As soon as school ended in June, we began talking about what sort of things Jake could do as a community service / community giving project. He told me that he wanted to do it again this year.

Because of his purses and toiletry items last year, he’s gained a reputation as the “travel toiletry kid”; most of my colleagues at PEATC travel extensively throughout Virginia during the summer months conducting special education related training, and they saved their items for Jake. Our family traveled in the summer and Jake’s aide traveled as well, so we added more to Jake’s collection efforts. To top it off, Jake’s pal Nick Sundberg of the Washington Redskins had an extended stay at the Omni in Richmond during Training Camp and saved a shopping bag full of toiletry items for Jake! Jake is thankful for all these items, and these toiletries will be a part of the giving as a result of the Dreams For Kids DC (DFKDC) Holiday Celebration.

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Thank you, Nick Sundberg!

But, in talking with DFKDC‘s Executive Director, we came upon another idea of a project that would involve kids “giving back” to other kids!

This year, Jake is collecting fleece to make blankets for the children who are patients at Inova Children’s Hospital.

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When we talked about it, Jake liked the idea of making kids feel better. He could relate to the idea that when you are at the hospital you might be missing your home and all the things you are used to having around. So, making something that feels comfortable and cozy seemed like a great idea, and one that DFKDC participants and volunteers can help to make during the DFKDC Holiday Celebration.

The 2016 DFKDC Holiday Celebration isn’t just a party, it’s an opportunity!

During the DFKDC Holiday Celebration, DFKDC participants and their families will be transformed into community givers and volunteers! With the assistance of other DFKDC volunteers, the DFKDC participants will take part in activities such as making holiday cards, assembling gift bags, and wrapping presents. They will also enjoy lunch, entertainment, and I’d be willing to bet, a little dancing!!!

Just as he did last year, Jake wants to demonstrate that DFKDC participants are able and interested in community service and community giving, and, most importantly, that their disAbilities aren’t a barrier to the giving spirit!

Jake excited about helping DFKDC make sure that other kids will have a happy holiday as a result of the event, but he could use your help!

Between now and December 15, 2016, Jake will be collecting fleece (or the means to purchase fleece) to make blankets for pediatric patients at Inova Children’s Hospital.

The fleece blankets can be made for teens, kids, or toddlers; each blanket consists of 2 pieces of fleece, typically a print and a coordinating solid color:

Teen blanket: 2 X 2 yards of fabric
Kids blanket: 2 X 1.5 yards of fabric
Toddler blanket: 2 X 1 yard of fabric

Jake has already received a few contributions to his project, but he could use your assistance to provide the kids at Inova children’s Hospital with something cuddly and cozy to hold.

For more information about Dreams For Kids DC, the 2016 DFKDC Holiday Celebration, and how to get involved, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/o/dreams-for-kids-dc-4251397915 or http://dreamsforkidsdc.org/. You can also email/message me for more details on contributing fleece.

A magical night spent “Under The Sea”

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2016 DFKDC Prom: “Under the Sea”. What a fun night! It was great to see all the Dreams for Kids DC participants, friends, families, and volunteers enjoy themselves in what may typically be a tricky social situation.

Both Jake and Sofia enjoyed being on the dance floor thanks to Pelonkey‘s DJ Neekola and her great beats! I enjoyed seeing the smiles, especially on the faces of the ‪#‎DFKDC‬ participants.

I am appreciative beyond words can adequately express how thankful I am for the Dreams for Kids organization serving the DMV under the leadership of the amazing Glenda Fu and her “All Hands On Deck” board members. They allow me to witness things that I would have never imagined possible when Jake was diagnosed with Autism. 

I am equally grateful that DFKDC routinely includes siblings in their activities … I think this participation is a great way to grow the next generation of disability/special needs advocates … and just all around good people!

Thank you to all the sponsors: On The Edge CF, Michael & Son Services, Pelonkey, Washington DCJCC, and Rob & Paige Robertory! Thank you to Tom Prather / The Blue Wave Media + Strategy, Heather Mahoney /Haute Haus Agency, and Snapshot Moments Photobooth, LLC for photography/video! And thanks again to Niara Iman and Nick Sundberg for being great sports and the best prom dates my kids could ever imagine!!!!!!

Photos & news media:

 

Prom-posal-palooza – UPDATE!!!!

BREAKING NEWS!!!! UPDATE!!!! Sofia & her Dreams for Kids DC #prom date, Nick Sundberg of the Washington Redskins will be onFox 5 DC around 9:40 am (EST) TOMORROW, Thursday, March 24. They will be talking about#DFKDC and the upcoming 2016 DFKDC Prom: Under the Sea / DFKDC Pre-Prom Pep Rally. Tune in to find out more about this fantastic organization and all the great things they do for kids with #SpecialNeeds in the #DMV!

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Ah … Spring is in the air, and it’s time for Prom season!

And the Prom we are most excited about is the Dreams for Kids DC Prom: Under The Sea!

Following their recognition as “Participants of the Year at the DFKDC Holiday Celebration, both Jake and Sofia have had an increased dedication to raising awareness about Dreams for Kids DC programs!

Last month, DFKDC’s Executive Director, Glenda Fu, approached me with the idea for Jake and Sofie to “ask” local celebrity volunteers to the prom.

In Sofia’s case, she’s had a long-standing connection with Washington Redskins‘ Long Snapper, Nick Sundberg, so she shot a video invite him to the prom.

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Sofia & Nick Sundberg

In her video, Sofia asked the hard hitting questions: “Do you like dancing? Do you like food? Do you like water?”

Nick said “yes“!!

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And Sofia gives a big “Thank You” to Nick … and reminds him they will just be going as friends!

Jake is also going to prom with a long-time DFKDC volunteer and 2015 Miss DC Teen USA, Niara Iman.

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He also made his “ask” via video and she also said yes!

Get out your boogie shoes, Nick & Niara!!!!

See you on April 16 at the DFKDC Prom!!