Offerings empowers people not by telling them what they should do, but by helping them gain the skills to develop control over their individual program visions. This enables them to make their own decisions as problems arise in order to improve and expand their services. Offerings also helps people to connect to resources and find new opportunities.
Offerings 2016 trip to Bali Indonesia was focused on addressing the topics chosen by the centers and non-governmental organizations.The Speech & Language Therapists asked to have a workshop on the Communication Challenges of Children with Autism. The Occupational Therapists on the island asked to understand Sensory Integration. The centers for children with special needs wanted to know more about Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism and effective teaching methods. The administrators from the centers wanted to learn more about development and fundraising ideas. The programs serving secondary age wanted to learn how to create pre-vocational programs.
Offerings sports department lead by Coach Josh Fitzgerald from Roseville, California provided a soccer skills day on the island of Bali, hosted on the Green School campus. Special Education Teacher, from Oakland, Ca. Alicia Newell provided coaching and mentoring during this special day as well. Thanks to Josh, 40 children were provided with soccer balls & jerseys and a special day of engaging in fun soccer activities. This may not seem extraordinary to some but many of the children were from a scholarship group who were sponsored to attend school due to financial support & some of the other children who joined attended local special needs centers for the physical and cognitively challenged. The final group was campers attending the Green School Camp. They became peer buddies on this day supporting the children with special needs.
This was the 2nd amazing integration of its kind on the island, typical children accepting and playing with peers with special needs.
The 2016 North Bay Autism Lectures Series, presented by Offerings focused on how it is to live daily on the spectrum. Seven sessions of “Hear Our Voices” showcased teens and young adults with ASD. They shared their successes & challenges. They shared their hopes and dreams. They shared their wisdoms so that professionals & parents could expand their understanding of how to help. Lectures were held at the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael.
In the future Offerings will be providing the opportunity to enjoy 7 years of amazing lectures/ workshops on its webs site. This final lecture series will be available for all who were unable to attend this year.
On April 1st, 2017 Offerings hosted its second annual Autism Awesomeness Day, kicking of National Autism Awareness month. Pastor Nicole Trotter at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in San Rafael once again provided an amazing venue. Over 15 Marin County agencies supporting children, teens and adults with Autism hosted tables showcasing the skills, talents and strengths of those who live each day on the spectrum. DJ Mathew McIntire, member of ASSCEND, supported guests with great music to stroll through vendor tables.
Supervisor Damon Connolly presented an amazing proclamation honoring all those in the county who work with, love and who encourage those living on the spectrum. Offerings honored PEETS Coffee House in San Rafael for employing qualified people on the spectrum.
Cypress School’s student with autism Tosh drummed guests from the community center into the church pews, where singers, authors, guitarists and pianists with Autism charmed and amazed guests with their talents. Talent from Everybody is a Star Foundation performed, Author Anlor Davin read from her recent memoir, Being Seen, about her own life on the spectrum and adventurer Paul Nussbaum introduced us to his cross country ski excursions for autism awareness. Offerings held its first one-day autism conference at the Marin County Office of Education, called “Road to Independence”, on October 1st, 2016. Twenty adult providers hosted tables connecting to the general public and making them aware of adult services and programs. Expert speakers from Life House Agency, Cedars of Marin, Cypress School, Wings Learning Center, Meristem, College Internship Program, Opportunities for Independence, Dan Phillips and Anna Vagin (speech therapists and AAC specialists) and Liz Domash (Creative Arts Therapist) provided key information on developing capability in adults with autism and other developmental challenges.
Offerings arrived in Entebbe Uganda on June 10, 2017 to collaborate with Embrace Kulture, who had been working in Uganda for over 4 years helping to bring acceptance and knowledge to special education centers and families concerned about the disabilities of autism and other developmental learning challenges.
Executive Director, Karen Kaplan, spent time observing the Komo Center in Entebbe, Dorna Center in Kampala, and St Ursula’s Special Needs School in Jinja. She met with the families to understand their concerns and answer their individual questions about their sons and daughters with autism. She also met with staff at the centers to understand their challenges and offer suggestions.
She provided recommendations to Centers' directors on creating effective classroom environments, developing meaningful activities and building communication skills and functional based curriculums.
Offerings inclusive sports coach, Joshua Fitzgerald, worked with the Entebbe Welfare School's special needs students in developing their Rugby skills and their coach in building training strategies. He traveled to the St. Ursula Special Needs School in Jinja and set up Rugby skill-development activities with their students as well. Coach Joshua was able to donate rugby balls, cones, bibs and practice shirts to the centers.