GonnawannaBOWLagin

bowlingCongratulations to all our bowlers for a great season and many thanks to our staff, parents and volunteers for all they did to make everyone’s season a success. Last but not least, we are especially grateful for our supportive friends at Pinboy’s Bowling, their patience and generosity is unmatched.

Indoor Soccer clinic

soccerclinicGonnawannaGoalagin’

We are getting such a “kick” out of our new soccer clinic.  All the kids are learning to control the ball and work with their teammates.  We couldn’t be more proud of our coaches, volunteers, and especially our players.

Kick here to score fun!

Bikes=Bonus!

Have you ever stopped to think about how beneficial the ability to ride a bike is?
Riding a bike isn’t something that most people think about unless they are the parent of a young child and the time has come to face the reality-and the tantrums- that they must teach the wee one how to ride. After a few days (and several tears later), the daunting task is over and it magically becomes a part of everyday life. But what does being able to independently ride a bicycle mean for those with disabilities?
Think about it. Being able to ride a bike-especially for those who will most likely never be able to drive a car-is priceless. A person with disabilities is most often limited when it comes to access to leisure activities, social inclusion, and dependable transportation to the work force. In addition, regular physical activity is almost completely absent from the lives of many people with disabilities, obviously leading to terrible health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Something as simple as riding a bike could offer a fuller life to so many of these people because they would gain the freedom of increased access, an enhanced sense of empowerment, the independence of transportation, and endless health benefits.
The iCan Shine Program is a nationwide charity organization that helps students with disabilities accomplish this great feat. With the assistance of highly experienced staff and volunteers, 80% of students with disabilities will learn to ride independently in just 5 consecutive 75-minute sessions. Yes, only 5 DAYS! Because of the generosity of the beautiful people from the Virginia Beach Youth Services Club, Vintage Car Rally Association, and Virginia Wesleyan College, FACT will be fortunate enough to team up with this outstanding program again this year. If you know someone whose life would be forever transformed because of this program, please encourage them to visit our website under “Programs/ Special Programs.”

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.