We love everything about Christine’s Aid Another organization and wanted more information. So, we asked her a few more questions…
When was Aid Another founded and why?
Aid Another was officially founded in April of 2018. Our “why” is to promote awareness and education of special needs families in our community, to empower special needs children with opportunities for social integration and community support, and to create an environment of acceptance, support, and advocacy.
There are unique challenges associated with special needs families such as lack of social opportunities, societal prejudices, lack of understanding, and the difficulty of navigating everyday activities.
Special needs individuals are among the most underserved and vulnerable populations in our community and in our nation.
We recognize the diversity within the population of individuals with special needs and our goal is to meet them where they are and provide opportunities for inclusion and acceptance by providing advocacy and promoting awareness within the community.
Was there a certain event or situation that triggered you to start Aid Another?
My “why” is my family. My son Ethan was diagnosed with Autism when he was three (3) years old. At that time, our family was on an emotional rollercoaster, with many highs and lows.
It was through our struggles dealing with the future of Autism, we wanted to ensure that Ethan lived a normal life. However, due to having special needs, our options were limited.
My oldest son, Aidan, is a baseball player and Ethan looks up to his older brother. For months all Ethan talked about was playing baseball, but he was unable to play with a “regular team.”
My brother, father, son and husband have always been associated with Great Neck Baseball League. When Ethan said he wanted to play baseball, I approached Great Neck’s Board of Directors, and together we started the first special needs baseball team through the Pony Division and Ethan played on the same field as his uncle and brother…the same fields where his grandfather and father coached.
It was in that moment when I learned one of the greatest lessons I will ever learn, I learned that anything is possible for Ethan, regardless of his disability. All we have to do is provide a path and, in that moment, Aid Another was formed.
Is Autism the main focus of Aid Another, or do you support other disabilities as well?
We pride ourselves on inclusion. We make great strives to promote and advocate inclusion for all special needs individuals within our community and within all aspects of society-whether it is social activities, educational opportunities, vocational training, lifestyles development and so forth.
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Despite an individual’s disability, whether it is Autism or down syndrome, they experience the same isolation, the same obstacles of integration within community, the same struggles.
Our focus is to introduce the beautiful world of special needs to the community, and the community to the world of special needs.
What are some of the main events that you host?
We host several events! This year, we hosted our First Annual Awareness Hike with our friend Seth France who raised awareness and funding for our programs as well as for our community partner, Pandas Against Cancer.
Additionally, we will be hosting our First Annual Awareness Walk and Inclusive Family Fun Day in August at Camp Grom. We are also hosting our Third Annual Golf Tournament in September. And we are cohosting a surfing event with our community partner, A Walk on Water (“AWOW”), in October.
We are about to wrap up our 6th season with the Champions baseball team at Great Neck and are planning to start our dance program back up in the fall.
We see you do a lot with Creative Arts. Why is art beneficial to people with disabilities?
Our Creative Arts Program is designed to focus on inclusion and accommodations to encourage special needs families to engage in everyday activities. We are committed to bringing the joy and benefits of dance, cheer, music, and art to students.
The goal of these programs is to enrich the lives of children through the exploration of creative arts in a safe, supportive, accommodating, and structured environment. Art is a wonderful opportunity for any individual to engage in self-expression, building confidence, having fun, and meeting new friends.
In addition to our creative arts program, we have created several programs -such as educational assistance, vocational training, lifestyle enrichment, recreational activities and sports, that also assist us in fulfilling our mission to empower special needs kids.
If someone wanted to get involved with our program, do you have volunteer opportunities?
We are always looking for volunteers! Our volunteers allow us to continue to advocate for inclusion of all people with any disability.
It is because of their generosity and time, we are able to provide a culture of acceptance, understanding and advocacy for special needs children and their families within the community where we all live. We encourage, invite, and hope people will join in our efforts and help support the special needs community!
Volunteers can help our community activities, fundraising efforts, and so much more! If anyone is interested in learning how they can volunteer, they can reach out to us on our website, www.aidanother.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our social media outlets, Facebook-AidAnotherVA or Instagram/AidAnother.
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