Best Valentine’s Day Ever

Best Valentine’s Day Ever!

Our second annual Valentine’s family social and teen dance was very special.  We shot Cupid’s arrows, did the “Cupid Shuffle”, donned heart shaped temporary tattoos, got silly in the photo booth, celebrated winter birthdays, and generally “felt the love”.  F.A.C.T. would like to acknowledge our hard working social committee: Laura Fahey, Sheri Hess, and Linda Senich who have been working hard to make sure every family member has a great time at each of our events for two seasons.  We also want to thank our assistant camp directors and teen night coordinators “Miss Alison” Tom and “Mr. Jessie” Pitts who acted as dance instructor and D.J. for this event. Very special thanks go out to volunteer alumni Tyler Brooks, who provided the super fun Virginia Beach Photo Booth.  We also want to recognize our new friends at the Cape Henry Rotary who have committed to providing sheet cakes for all our socials and camp parties throughout the year…sweet!  Finally, our deep gratitude to Friends School for partnering with F.A.C.T. to provide a safe and welcoming place for our programs.

Click here to see all the fun

Tween Time and Laser Quest

laser questLaser Quest has always been a favorite destination of ours and last Friday we were reminded why.  The Tween Time gang played two exciting games, played in the arcade, and had a chance to meet new friends. From the crazy code names to the awesome laser action, a great time was had by all.

F.A.C.T Families Raise the Roof

Our first annual ( we’re definitely doing this again) Valentine’s dance was tremendous. More than 150 people came out to eat, play, and dance their hearts out. Special thanks to DJs J-Roc and Spellz, Virginia Beach Friends School, Virginia Beach Photo Booth,Lucid Step Team, dance instructors and all our volunteers and VCRA for sponsoring our socials with a generous grant this year .


To see a sampling of the fun click here

Teen Night-Karoake

karoakeWe are Rock Stars!

and country stars, and pop stars too. Teen Night gathered at Wannabe’s Karaoke this weekend for a show of our talent and team spirit. We laughed and cheered and sang along as our friends performed their favorite songs. Thanks to Bonnie and her crew at Wannabe’s. They always treat us like the stars that we are.

Click here to see more of the fun.

Holiday Social was a huge hit!!

The FACT socials are free family events packed with fun for all ages. Our annual Holiday Party co-hosted by the Tidewater Autism Society in December is always a huge hit. We had games, crafts, face painting, prizes, an an inflatable obstacle course and a visit from Santa.
To check out all the fun click here.

F.A.C.T Holiday Float

Olivia Fisher’s Gold Award Girl Scout project is really coming together. Teens with ASD, parents, and peers are pitching in to help build the F.A.C.T. float for the Virginia Beach Holiday parade. Be sure to come out to the ocean front on Saturday, Dec 6 and wave to us as we cruise down Atlantic Avenue decked out and showing our holiday spirit. Click here for pictures of our progress.

FACT Teens & Tweens are Admirals Fans!!!

We’ve been attending hockey games for years. Maybe it’s the fast paced action, maybe it’s the concessions ad seeing our friends, but we love it. Check out the candid shots of last weeks event.

Volunteering Pays: My Favorite Oxymoron

When I tell other non-profit organizations that Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (F.A.C.T.) attracts more than 250 student volunteers each year they are envious and they should be.  I could not be more proud of our volunteers. Some enter our programs innately able to engage and mentor our campers with autism.  Others need more training and guidance.  But in the end, they all learn so much about autism and the satisfaction that comes from serving others. They gain empathy and leadership skills. They become advocates for individuals with disabilities. Hopefully they go out into the world and share the point of view they developed while volunteering for F.A.C.T.

Of course I’m not so naïve as to believe all this volunteerism is strictly philanthropic.  First of all our programs are fun and interesting.  Because we are community focused, our social programs and camps involve lots of outings to places like the Virginia Aquarium, Laser Quest, and Ocean Breeze water park.  Volunteers can earn community service hours and an awesome recommendation for college or job applications.

My timing for this blog is not coincidental.  March is typically the time of year when parents and children begin planning their summer activities and schedules.  When I was a kid, the sum total of that plan was to be outdoors from dawn to dusk. Today, kids are involved in so many activities that careful advanced planning is necessary.  So for all my would-be student volunteers, let me officially announce that applications will be available on this site on May 1st and they will only be available for 2 weeks.  Camp will be in session from July 7 through August 15.

Each year camp receives more than 300 applications for only 200 positions, so not everyone will be able to participate in camp.  However there are many other volunteer opportunities and I’m sometimes disappointed at how few come forward to fill those year round programs.  Teen night, tween time, bowling league, and bike camp all need student volunteers so please consider taking part in one of these programs.