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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

A Day in the Life: Volunteering at Autism Speaks’ Celebrity Golf Challenge

June 29, 2010 2 comments

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro.  Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a rising senior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management.

One may ask what someone does after volunteering from about six in the morning to 10 at night. Does one take a shower, go to sleep, get some food, OR in some rare cases, write a blog about the day’s events? If you chose the latter, you were correct and win the glorious prize of knowing there are completely loopy people like me in this world. (Don’t believe me; I just used the word loopy in a sentence.)

On Monday, June 28, Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York hosted the 12th Annual Autism Speaks Celebrity Golf Challenge. I had the opportunity to volunteer to help run the event with Autism Speaks, and as a true golf enthusiast, I felt very privileged and excited, to say the least!

The day’s events were simply astonishing, whether it was the swarms of celebrities (some with inflated handicaps and some without) or the continuing use of huge advancements in the world of technology, such as Bid Pal (a device similar to an iPhone that helps auctioneers place bids on numbered items during auctions) and eGolfScore devices (handheld wireless scoring devices updating golf scores up to the second for standings and updates). All celebrities in attendance were teamed up with groups of golfers to play in the events. The event also featured a live and silent auction in the evening with quite a few great items up for grabs.

The golf events from the day were joyous for the most part; however, an interesting sight to see was in the late afternoon when it started raining and several golf groups kept playing. Whether it was based on the fact that it was Autism Speaks’ event or not didn’t matter; people were enjoying their day and it was great to see.

The most heartfelt event of the day for me occurred during the evening dinner program where Kevin J. Murray, The event and committee co-chair spoke about autism and how it had impacted not only his son, but his family’s lives around him. This was during a very funny transitional period where Autism Speaks and Winged Foot debuted a video that was shot throughout the golf events of the day. The video included a spoof of the movie “Caddyshack” (I chuckled more than once and am laughing while typing this out as well in memory). Kevin probably said it best when he said, “This video we are about to see truly captures the feeling of today” and it did:  fun, eventful and timeless.

Suzanne and Bob Wright, The honorary co-chairs who were also in attendance, spoke during the evening dinner program and showed once again how effective and powerful they are when it comes to public speaking. Suzanne Wright, who quoted Michelangelo, said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” This was symbolic to Autism Speaks’ dedication to help with autism put together the puzzle, piece-by-piece.

Special thanks go out to all the celebrities who attended, the golfers who played and made donations to Autism Speaks, and also the to the staff members and volunteers whose fabulous work made the day run smoothly for everyone.

Read more about the event and view photos here.

The 12 Days of Autism Christmas

December 23, 2009 Leave a comment

The comments and reactions from Shannon’s poem are absolutely incredible; keep them coming! Last night we got this e-mail from Diana who is on the Autism Speaks leadership council and is also in Conn.

On the 1st day of Christmas, autism gave to me… a brand new IEP

On the 2nd day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 2 hours of stimming

On the 3rd day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 3 hours of therapy

On the 4th day of Christmas, Autism gave to me… 4 hours of sleep at night

On the 5th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 5 MARBLE RUNS (since Carter is OBSESSED)

On the 6th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 6 major meltdowns

On the 7th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 7 social stories

On the 8th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 8 candles to talk about (but we don’t celebrate Hanukkah, honey …)

On the 9th day of Christmas, Autism gave to me… 9 cars all lined up in a row

On the 10th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 10 lines from Toy Story – over, and over, and over again

On the 11th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 11 different teachers

On the 12th day of Christmas, autism gave to me… 12 insurance claim denials

Happy Holidays to all … and may we get to the New Year with our sanity intact!

Thanks Diana!

Do you have a story you want to tell or want to write a guest blog post for Autism Speaks? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

‘Twas the Night Before D-Day

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

A big part of why we created this blog was to give a voice to our volunteers, staff and those affected by autism.  Shannon’s poem is our first guest blog post and a timely one at that.

Shannon is the mom to three boys and Jack (8.5) has autism. She is also the Connecticut Advocacy chair, and the Greater Hartford Walk Now for Autism Speaks Chair.

“He was diagnosed 6 years ago today and my heart was very heavy all day yesterday thinking about it because 6 years later not much has changed. The numbers are higher and the people in positions to aggressively put and end to autism are still qualifying it’s existence.”

 Here is Shannon’s adaptation of the classic Christmas poem:

(Shannon refers to the day Jack received his Diagnosis as D-Day.)

‘Twas the night before D-Day, and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, well except for the mouse

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

With hope that they wouldn’t be thrown through the air

All but one of the children, nestled all snug in their beds

Weighted blankets and melatonin could not calm his head

And mamma in her fleece, dad wearing his cap

They knew they would be awake for a while, no chance of a nap

When upstairs in Jack’s room, there arose such a clatter

Mom and dad flew up the stairs to see what was the matter

Up the staircase they flew like a flash

Passed crayon on the wall, and piles of trash

And there in Jack’s room, wouldn’t you know

A fractured alarm clock, he was upset by its glow

And what to our wondering eyes should appear,

The emptied bookcase on the floor, he wanted it there

With a cry of frustration, so piercing and shrill

Mom and dad heard the echo of others saying “can’t you just give him a pill?”

More rapid than eagles his tears they came

And he screamed, and howled and called us cruel names

“I’m leaving! I hate you! I’m running away”

Everyone hates me! I’m a loser, they say!”

To the end of the street! To the end of the block!

The screaming and yelling, it made the house rock.

So, into our arms, we hugged our boy close

Hoping we had the right sensory dose

And then, in a twinkling, we heard through our tears

“I’d like some water and to watch Sponge Bob downstairs”

As we drew in our breath, and were calming our hearts

We muttered, and cursed these Aspergerian parts

They were confusing, irrational, scary and quick

This disorder called autism, we had not picked.

A bundle of baby boy with whom we’d been blessed

Now 1 in 70 of autism’s unwelcome guests

His eyes how they twinkled! – his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

And the cleft of his chin was as perfect as gold

We would love this sweet boy, until we were old

Now the stump of a chewstick, he held tight in his teeth

Perseverating and stimming at the tinsel on the wreath

He had a round face, and a little round belly

Would only eat peanut butter and jelly.

He was inappropriate and goofy a right jolly old elf

And I laughed when he said things, in spite of myself;

A blink of his eye, a smirk on his lips

A shimmy, a swagger a shake of the hips

He did not always have words, but wanted to work

On painting, and reading and some other fun quirks,

Sometimes he’d put his finger inside of his nose,

Look to us for a nod, and we’d shake our heads “no!”

He jumps up and down, in his joy shrieks a whistle,

And he laughs, and he laughs, with not so much as a bristle.

And we’ve heard him exclaim, more often than not

“My name is Jack and I can do the Robot!”

- Shannon, Conn.

Do you have a story you want to tell or want to write a guest blog post for Autism Speaks? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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