Thankful! On this day … Thankful Tuesday there is much to be shared about the Autism Society of Alaska and the time I have served as the President of the Board of Directors. There are two tenses of the word … past and present that are most commonly contemplated when defining thankful. For myself … I first am Thankful that ASA has a past and a vibrant future. I am thankful for those who served before me … for those who paved the way … for those like the founder Heidi Haas. She had a vision and a plan and set it in motion. When I first volunteered for ASA … I was a newer parent with a new diagnosis and was so thankful for a place of common knowledge and non-judgement, where my family and myself could join and not be so different … but surrounded by others who understood and knew much of the same.
As I gained my footing and momentum, I eventually had the opportunity to serve as the President. In my time in this position I am beyond thankful for the opportunities to host the first two Autism Society of Alaska conferences with the likes of Temple Grandin and Michelle Garcia Winner! To hear what they shared alongside other local experts in our State was thrilling. Launching Community Enrichments, where we can offer educational, social and sensory sensitive events like my favorite, Sensory Santa, extended the vibe set by the conferences. I’m thankful for the networking and sharing of ideas these types of settings make possible. I’ve so appreciated the partnerships concerning safety with the State Troopers through Project Life Saver and CTC with classroom time for training with the cadets.
There are so many memories and moments that I will carry with me for some time. With that … I am thankful for the opportunity to move into the Past President position. I can be a part of the past and that’s only possible because of those who have been willing to carry the torch towards the future. Being part of this amazing non-profit organization has been a team effort. I’ve worked alongside many brilliant individuals with amazing skills and heart. Now I can support them and smile as they successfully navigate what’s next. What programs will they make flourish, what impacts will they have in the lives of those we serve and our communities.
I am so excited to announce that ASA’s new Board of Director’s President is Leah Kovall. Her enthusiasm and positive outlook and vision will be so effective in her leading. Moving into the Vice President position is Briana Brooks. Joining us as the new treasurer is Bonita Brees. Denys Collins will continue as our secretary and Alana Frazier and Joshua Kamerick have also volunteered more of their time, energy and resources to the ASA Board. Paige Talvi has accepted our position of Honorary Board member which we are so pleased to share. Every one of these individuals have made it possible for our organization to not only exists, but thrive. I am so grateful and thankful for their willingness, eagerness, thoughtfulness and compassion in their service as well as the time they commit to their positions. All of those characteristics are why they are champions of advocacy, education, awareness, acceptance and change for so many … not only locally but across our great State!
I am so thankful to all of our organization’s supporters and volunteers. All of your time, skills, and financial gifts have allowed us to do what we do. Thank you for both your past and future generosity! When there are so many amazing non-profits doing so many great things, it’s humbling to receive all we do. Our deep gratitude in recognizing this makes us proud to let you know that every dollar stays in Alaska and every dollar matters and is helpful. As we wrap up 2018, I am excited to see what 2019 holds for the Autism Society of Alaska. Thankful!
Brandy Raby, Past Autism Society of Alaska Board of Director’s President
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