Champions for Charity 2018

The North Pole Middle School Community joined together from early February to early March for the 6th Annual Champions for Charity Tournament.  Champions for Charity is a fundraising competition that started six years ago as a way to honor a student tragically lost in an accident. Including this year’s donations, C4C will have donated over $59,000 to locally tied nonprofit organizations.

This year twelve teams of staff and students raised $18,100 for the local nonprofit organizations of their choice.  The team “Algebros” chose to represent the Autism Society of Alaska and in one month, they raised $1428.

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Danielle Tessen, ASA’s executive director attended an assembly at  North Pole Middle School on Tuesday, May 1st. She had a chance to meet the team of students who raised money for ASA.   Then at the assembly she had a chance speak to the student body about our organization and how the money students raised will be used. “I loved that they invited me out to talk about autism and the team was so accepting and kind. It was such a blessing to experience,” expressed Danielle Tessen.

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Building Communication for Teens with Autism

The Autism Society of Alaska Partnered with Hope Counseling Center to present a hands-on workshop: “Building Communication for Improved Listening and Compliance in Adolescents and Teens who Experience Autism.”

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, the Autism Society of Alaska Partnered with Hope Counseling Center to present a hands-on workshop: “Building Communication for Improved Listening and Compliance in Adolescents and Teens who Experience Autism.” It was presented by two therapists for Hope Counseling,  Matthew Sena, MA LPC, the Clinical Director and Kylie Gore-Hall, MS at the Autism Society of Alaska Office.

During this workshop, professionals, parents, and individuals participated in activities that offered firsthand knowledge to the difficulties adolescents and teens who experience autism might encounter while conversing. Participants partnered up and acted out different scenarios. Here they learned many skills, strategies, and tips:

  • Communication involves a speaker, a listener, and a message
  • What each role entails
  • How to minimize distractions
  • The importance of paraphrasing and more

Everyone left with tools to help build the listening skills of not only their child or clients but also themselves. All of this was achieved in a comforting environment full of conversation and networking.

This presentation was brought by the Autism Society of Alaska’s Community Enrichment program. This program was created to solve some of the community’s most common requests, access to information about networking with other families and leisure activities for individuals with autism. The Autism Society of Alaska (A.S.A) partners with local businesses to provide leisure opportunities to those who experience autism, while also providing networking, socializing, and referral services to the whole family. A.S.A. also hosts community presentations and workshops on a range of topics affecting individuals with autism.

Want to learn more about the Autism Society of Alaska Community Enrichment Program? Visit A.S.A’s website to see more events to come.

For more information on Hope Counseling Center and the services they offer, check out their website.

Helping Has No Age Requirement

A couple months ago, we were reminded that working with ASA can be done in any capacity. Whether you are an individual or group of any age, you can help us. Recently we were contacted by Jonathon Putnam, a 9th grader at NPHS. He chose The Autism Society of Alaska for his Boy Scouts Eagle Scout group project. He made and donated fidget spinners. Putnam stated he did this because, “I thought it would be a fun project. I have a lot of friends who either have autism or have siblings that do.” We love seeing the generosity of the younger generation in our community.

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If you are interested in helping, but not sure how. Reach out to us. You can offer your skills and time in any capacity, big or small. It takes many types of talents. Think about the CHANGE you can make with your SKILLS!
Autism907@gmail.com

Autism Society of America President/CEO Visits Alaska

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Last week, Scott Badesch, the President and CEO of the Autism Society of America, braved the negative temperatures to come visit Alaska. His advice and guidance are invaluable as the Autism Society of Alaska embraces growth and change during strategic planning.

We enjoyed sharing with him some fun information about our great community such as plugging in vehicles and moose sightings.

Here are a couple comments that made us smile:

“The kids actually go outside for recess in this weather?”

“Won’t someone take your car if it’s auto started?”

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We appreciate Badesch and local Fairbanks Mayor, Jim Matherly, for taking the time to sit down with us and discuss ways we can better reach out to those in our community and across the state.  We love serving the state of Alaska and helping with the unique challenges our community faces.

Please reach out if you are interested in joining us on this journey. You can offer your skills and time in any capacity, big or small.
Autism907@gmail.com

Also consider making a donation to help support autism education, awareness, advocacy, research, and most importantly, enable us to assist families living with autism.

http://www.asagoldenheart.org/donate

Sensory Santa 2017

On December 2nd, 2017, the Autism Society of Alaska hosted their 4th annual Sensory Santa event.

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By: Denys Collins

On December 2nd, 2017, the Autism Society of Alaska hosted their 4th annual Sensory Santa event. This provided families with children on all spectrums of special needs, a more controlled and welcoming environment to visit with Father Christmas. Simple adjustments were made to reduce sensory stimuli  and to create a calming environment.

It is December, and the holiday season is in full swing. The trees are being set up and the gifts are being purchased. In malls across the country many children are lining up to tell Santa their Christmas wish list, but for some this tradition does not come easily.  For many with autism and sensory processing disorders, visiting Santa can be difficult. The problems are not all on Santa though, many of the issues lie in all that comes with him. These meetings usually take place in busy places with long crowded lines, loud music, and bright lights. This process can be uncomfortable for many children and for those with special needs, it can quickly become unbearable. The Autism Society of Alaska has joined many other communities by offering sensory friendly Santa experiences each year.

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Last weekend, we held our 4th annual sensory Santa event.   We allowed all families to have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Father Christmas. This year we utilized time slots to manage the flow of traffic more effectively and reduce the need to wait. Families were greeted in our waiting area with dim Christmas lights, the light smell of cinnamon, and morning snacks. Children were able to make their own ornament to take home or play with provided toys such as trains and a light table. For those that needed a space to get away, a tent with a sound machine and pillows was provided. Many children were more than content just to play with the trains and eat cinnamon rolls.

Once they were ready, families were brought back to a separate room to meet Santa. Our Father Christmas is a kind gentle man that quickly soothes children with his soft voice in a separate room.  Being a grandfather himself, he has knowledge of the commonly asked for items which children love.  Every family is allowed time to get comfortable with Santa with no pressure to rush.  We were very lucky this year to have an amazing photographer volunteer his time and talent and capture the special memory for families.

The holiday season is a special time and no child should be left out of family traditions. The Autism Society of Alaska loves being able to offer the Santa experience with a few accommodations to make it accessible for all children. We are thankful for our title sponsor, Greer Tank and Welding; our helper “elves,” our photographer, Brian Schlumbohm; our Santa and his wife, George and Amy Viltrakis; and all of our attendees for letting us share this special day with them.

Thankful Tuesday

2017 Achievements

2017 is coming to an end, and we are excited to share with you all that we were able to achieve this year because of your generosity. 

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January

Kicked off the new year with our first Community Enrichment presentation by hosting the Neuro Development Clinic event of Social Thinking delivered by Betsey Jacobs in Fairbanks at ACCA.

Danielle attended our first All Alaska Pediatric Partnership meeting in Fairbanks with an invite by Tamar, the executive director.

Fairbanks Community Mental Health Clinic received a 101 presentation on ASA and Autism from the Autism Society of Alaska.

Alaska State Trooper Captain Ron Wall and Danielle Tessen presented on Project Lifesaver at the Fairbanks Chamber meeting and received sponsorship of bracelets after presentation.

February

Community Enrichment: ASA Board member Theresa Sabens and presentation partner Traci Roon spoke at Fairbanks Community Mental Health on Sensory Processing.

Myway Matinee 3 month trial began in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings after a year of asking.

Began the process for submitting an Alaska Autism License Plate Bill with National’s advice as a fundraising method, unfortunately the bill did not pass.

Our board member Joshua kicked off his Community Outreach with a table at a UAF Hockey Night.

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We were selected as a non-profit in the McHenry Ball tournament at North Pole Middle school and funds were raised on our behalf from the student’s North Pole Champions for Charity also held a bingo night and auction.

March

Community Enrichment: Brandy, Danielle and Denys presented at TVC to the medical professionals on Autism and how to better partner with ASA.

ASA helped get the Wrights Law Training streamed to Fairbanks at UAF thanks to Stone Soup Group.

We hosted a fundraising paint nite at Pioneer Park.

Myway Matinee 3 month trial in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings.

Dance 2 fit hosted a wonderful third party event fundraiser.

ASA partnered with AARC to host autism self advocate Dani Bowman at Pioneer Park.

Joshua joined the FASD Sensory Swim as the ASA representative.

April

April was Autism Awareness Month!

Community Enrichment: Bio medical approach to Autism with Suzette Mailloux at the Public Library.

The annual Human Ribbon at UAF Theresa and Danielle presented at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.

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ASA held two more Paint Nite fundraisers at Gambardella’s and Salcha.

UAF School of Education Hosted a third party fundraiser with a silent auction and donated the money raised to help fund our 2nd Annual Alaska Autism Conference keynote speaker.

Fairbanks Children’s Museum held a sensory friendly version of their interactive performance play.

Myway Matinee PASSED the month trial and began year round in Fairbanks at Regal Cinemas for Sensory Friendly Movie Showings.

Soldotna hosted an Extravaganza event.

May

We were selected as Papa John’s Charity of the month.

June

9th Annual Alaska 5k for Autism.

Betsey Jacobs and Danielle Tessen presented to Morning Star Ranch on Autism, Zones of Regulation per their request on how to improve their relationships with their adults with autism.

We were able to approve one scholarship for a camper to attend Camp Yes in the Woods.

Danielle and Joshua ran an activity on “your feet are not for kicking” at Camp Yes in the Woods.

August

Executive Director Danielle, Board Secretary Denys and President Brandy present a training to the CTC Law Enforcement Academy on autism and focused on signs and suggestions for positive and effective interactions with those who experience autism and their support systems and care providers.

Joshua attended the Tanana Valley State Fair and took part in the American Disability Act celebration and awareness day activities.20664973_10155101720299585_4219217782893141669_n

Danielle, Denys and Brandy presented to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Emergency Room Staff/Nurses on the same curriculum after a parent reached out on an issue her family experienced at the hospital.

Children’s Museum sensory day with Joshua as our representative.

October

In October we hosted Michelle Garcia Winner and 8 State guest speakers at our 2nd Alaska State Autism Conference.

In addition to the conference, Paige Talvi put together an amazing evening event, a silent auction beer and wine tasting fundraiser.DSC_0114

Partnered with Alaska Autism Resource Center and Stone Soup Group to host a presentation for running your own support group.

Fairbanks hosted the first Wings for All program in partnership with The Arch of Anchorage and FRA.

November

Joshua attended a community outreach event on Fort Wainwright.

December

Host our 4th Annual Sensory Santa event.


Thank You!

The Autism Society of Alaska is approaching GivingTuesday a little different this year. Instead of asking for Y-O-U to give to US, we want to take the day to THANK you for all the giving you have done all year long. Without YOU we do not exist.

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We would like to give a ThankfulTuesday shoutout to all of the volunteers who have positively impacted ASA with their generosity. Here are a few we want to take some time to focus on from 2017:

Caitlin Frye, our grant writer
Amanda Lash, our walk director for our  9th Annual 5k
Paige Talvi and her entire team, ran our Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction
Gene Lunney, donated the Roundup Steakhouse, food, and alcohol for our auction
George and Amy Viltrakis, our Sensory Santa and his wife
Scott Lonergan, Event Graphic Design Consultant
Mark Christensen, Tech support
We also want to thank all of our board members from the past and all of our current members:
Brandy Raby, President
Denys Collins, Secretary
Dawn Ham, Treasurer
Joshua Kamerick, Board Member who Experiences Autism
Alana Frazier, Board Member in the Professional Field
Heidi Haas, Founding Honorary Board Member
Betsey Jacobs, Honorary Board Member
*If you would like to volunteer your time, talent or treasure to ASA please connect with us. It takes every type of skill to keep an organization running.
http://www.asagoldenheart.org/volunteer

Sponsors

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Building Blocks
Greer Tank and Welding
Kinross Fort Knox
Fairbanks Native Association
Alaska Frontier
Ear Nose and Throat
Madden Real Estate
Fairbanks Behavior
96.9 River 98.1 k-Wolf
Nomadic Stars
DJay Entertainment

2017 2nd Annual Alaska Autism Conference:
Alaska Mental Health Trust Grant
SESA
AARC
UAF School of Ed
Hussman Grant
Governors Council
Building Blocks
Greer Tank
Baker Insurance
Arctic Pathways
Local 375
302 Operators Union
Sourdough Express
Laborers’ Local 942
Mt McKinley Bank
Fairbanks Memorial hospital

2017 4th Annual Sensory Santa:
Greer Tank

Safety Partners

14370121_10154124430879585_6528352622558162308_nSafety is important to the mission of us at ASA. Without our fantastic safety partners we can not achieve our mission! Thank you to both Alaska State Troopers Project Lifesaver and
UAF CTC Law Enforcement Safety Training for reaching out to us to partner.

 

 

 

There are so many more sponsors, partners, and volunteers we would like to thank. Without each and every one of you, nothing we do would be possible.  As a non profit, we rely heavily on those that support us in many different ways. Thank you!


*Donations are tax deductible if you would like to still take part in GivingTuesday.  You can donate online by visiting http://www.asagoldenheart.org/donate OR send donations to: 607 Old Steese Hwy, Suite B #285 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 & make checks out to: Autism Society of Alaska.

 

Beer&Wine Tasting Silent Auction

Over 100 people attended the Autism Society of Alaska’s first Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction

Written by Denys Collins

Over 100 people attended the Autism Society of Alaska’s first Beer and Wine Tasting Silent Auction on October 5th, 2017. The money raised will go a long way towards helping Alaskan families impacted by autism. The auction and tasting, which took place at Roundup Steakhouse, made over $9,000 through ticket and auction item sales.

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This festive event was highlighted by an impressive amount of widely varied items generously donated including:

  • Fully stocked fishing boat rental
  • Cabin stay
  • Art by Alaskan artist Karla Morreira
  • Gift certificates for the Nutcracker Ballet
  • An entire table of homemade desserts

DSC_0124 While bidding on items, attendees were able to try numerous types of beers, wines, and spirits including  Alaskan made whiskeys from Arctic Harvest. The tasting tables and auction items began in the lower level of Roundup Steakhouse then flowed upstairs, stocking the second level. Sounds of friends and families engaging in lighthearted bidding wars and conversations filled the DSC_0077restaurant. We were even lucky enough to have Michelle Garcia Winner, the creator of Social Thinking and keynote speaker from this year’s Autism Conference, join the fun.

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The atmosphere of this event was unlike many of those we have previously held. This allowed for a new group of generous community members to help support local individuals that experience autism and their families. This was one of our most successful events yet. We were able to raise over $9,000 which will allow us to continue:

  • Holding trainings for first responders
  • Accommodate sensory friendly events
  • Hosting Community Enrichment Nights
  • Accessing resources for individuals and families

It truly was a community event from those that planned the event to those that ran it. It would not have been possible without the assistance of countless people.  Gene Lunney, the owner of Roundup Steakhouse’s hospitality and kindness are unsurpassed. He provided not only the venue but also the food and alcohol. The help of Paige Talvi, Stefanie Bell, and their crew of volunteers was invaluable. They were vital to the solicitation of amazing donations,  the beautiful set up, and the quick and painless check out. As a non profit, we are nothing without the community that supports us.  It was a beautiful night watching the community come together to support local families impacted by autism.

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*All photos courtesy of our amazing volunteer photographer, Chelsey Klos with Willow Photography