It’s almost Fall and time for PACT programs to start up again. Our traveling theatre troupe will be presenting ‘Beyond Bullying’ theatre events for teens at schools and community centers, Please let us know if you would like them to perform for your group of teens. The troupe has worked very hard for almost two years to create and hone this powerful and entertaining event, and we are getting a great response from the teens in their audiences. We are looking for sponsors to help fund the performances. Please contact us if you know of a person or business who would like to participate.
We are also excited to continue our new on-the-job training program at our local Boys and Girls Club. We are training two young adults with autism as workshop directors while we provide the Boys and Girls Club with theatre workshops for their members and with training for their teachers in how to best serve those with autism.
On September 16th we will begin the next 8-week cycle of Saturday Workshops at Dance North County in Encinitas. Saturday Workshops consist of improvisational theatre workshops from 2:30-4:00 p.m., and dance and singing workshops from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Most of our participants are teens and young adults with Asperger’s/autism. Some of our less verbal participants especially enjoy our dance/singing workshops.
Our goal is to provide teens and young adults on the autism spectrum with an opportunity to master an art, enhance their communication and social skills in a supportive community, and learn how to find a place for themselves in the world.
Our program curricula is created and presented by our artistic director and the mother of two children with autism, Sandy Redmon. Sandy holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a Master’s in Psychology, and has been very successfully leading PACT workshops since 2009. She has the rare ability to catch the imagination of teens, and she also has the understanding that comes from raising children on the spectrum.
Our theatre workshops are also led by her son, Jake, who has grown incredibly as an artist and as a leader. Although we invite volunteers from the community to serve as peer mentors, and they add greatly to the quality of our programs, Jake is our best peer mentor. Sandy Redmon’s daughter will serve as an aide to a teen on the spectrum in this Fall’s dance/singing class.
Feedback is that we offer a frontier into a new way of empowering people with autism to develop their potential and lead happy lives.
All the best for a fruitful Fall,
Founding Director, PACT
PACT Traveling Theatre Troupe presented their ‘Beyond Bullying’ Theatre event at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad on Tuesday, April 11. This was the first of many performances by the troupe, and it was powerful and entertaining. Everyone shined. This performance was the culmination of over a year of work creating and rehearsing the event, under the leadership of PACT’s Artistic Director, Sandy Redmon.
We are very proud of PACT’s Traveling Theatre Troupe and know they will continue to inspire young teens to go ‘beyond bullying’ through their ‘Beyond Bullying’ Theatre Event.
Contact PACT at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a ‘Beyond Bullying’ Theatre Event for the young teens at your school or community center.
It’s our holiday break at PACT until January 21st as far as offering our Saturday Workshops, but we are very busy. Our traveling theatre troupe is putting the finishing touches on their ‘Beyond Bullying’ theatre event, and will soon be presenting their sketches and improvisational activities out in the community. We are excited to be hiring the troupe members and our plan is to provide them with long-term, meaningful employment.
Our Saturday theatre and performing arts workshops for teens and young adults with autism continues to improve. The workshops are more dynamic and powerful in teaching life skills than ever before. For seven years our artistic director, Sandy Redmon, has developed and led curricula that catches the imaginations of teens and young adults (not an easy task) while improving their life and social skills. We are so lucky to have her. Her son, our assistant workshop director and a young adult with autism, also continues to grow as a great leader.
As always we have had a beautiful bouquet of volunteer peer mentors this year. The really special ones often stay, sometimes for years, and get to know and appreciate our community.
We recently held our annual board of directors meeting. I see the board as the backbone of the organization, and we have assembled a group of some very high quality people. One of our board members, an adult with autism, is also a program volunteer and gives the meetings his inside view.
My goal is that in about ten years we will have handed the leadership of this organization over to a team of individuals with autism. I believe that they are the ones who are absolutely the best suited to mentor others with autism, and I know they will take PACT in directions that would never occur to me. I see myself staying on as a board member and grant writer if invited.
The plan is that each job at our organization eventually becomes a mentorship opportunity for someone with autism. I believe people will gravitate at some point towards various aspects of running PACT, for example, someone showing an interest in being our webmaster. This will take time and I am in no hurry. The first and perhaps most essential thing is for everyone to relax.
It is currently a time when grant proposals are due, and I find myself getting into a writer’s mode, which pulls me into seeing what we do in an overview. I cannot express how grateful I am to have found this way to serve. Autism is a big spectrum and I think many of us are on it somewhere. I certainly am.
Mountaineer and dad Farzin Fallah will be facing one of the biggest challenges of his life in just a few weeks. He will embark on a climbing expedition in Nepal starting August 30 to raise funds for autism organizations, including PACT. As many of you know, Farzin’s son Matthew is a long-time participant in our theatre and performing arts workshops. We are honored and grateful to Farzin for turning his climb of Cho-Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain, into a challenge that will benefit many in the autism community, including our own theatre participants.
While summer is a time when many people step back and relax with vacations or trips to the beach, both Farzin and his son Matthew have made the most of their summer working toward their goals. In July, while Matthew participated in a pre-college program in Seattle, Farzin used the opportunity to climb two of Washington’s magnificent mountains that were within driving distance of Seattle, where the family was staying. They were Mount Si and Colchuck Peak. With the challenge of climbing Nepal’s Cho-Oyu rapidly approaching, Farzin welcomed the opportunity to continue preparing in Washington for the climb.
To read Farzin’s account of his most recent climbs in Washington State and see more pictures of the breathtaking scenery they offered, visit his blog at climbingforautism.org.
And if you haven’t already done so, please consider making a contribution to this very worthwhile endeavor. Donations can be made through a link to the National Association for Autism Research (NFAR) which you’ll find on Farzin’s website: Climbing for Autism.
We wish Farzin all the best in his climbing expedition in Nepal! You’ll find updates and photos of Farzin’s amazing journey and his summiting of Cho-Oyu on his websites’s blog as well.