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.