Looking back to a month of awareness

Published 2:12 pm Saturday, April 28, 2018

As April comes to a close, I want to give you a recap of the Hormel Historic Home efforts toward autism advocacy during the month. Our commitment to serving those on the spectrum and their caregivers continues to grow and we have great plans for the future.

April 2 was World Autism Day and we hosted a Parent/Caregiver Network event featuring a presentation from Mary Barinka. Mary joined the HHH staff in September and has been busy working with businesses, service providers, and families to connect those with needs to appropriate resources. Thirty-five people attended the networking meeting and learned about resources, both local and national, that can help them manage the autism journey. Representatives from REM, Cedar House, the Arc, Austin Public Schools, and the Parenting Resource Center were on hand to visit with families about their services. Families were able to raise some questions, and they all expressed an interest in continuing to gather to learn from and support one another. The next meeting of this group will take place on Monday, June 4 with a presentation regarding special needs planning.

We hosted three respite events in April which offer youth in grades kindergarten through 12th grades the opportunity to have fun and practice social skills with their peers. The teens took advantage of the recreational activities at the Arc and made individual pizzas. The younger grades were able to enjoy the gym and the pool at the YMCA. Partnering with these community organizations allows us to offer more to the families in need of respite and we are grateful for their collaboration. And a huge THANK YOU to the staff who give of their time and talent to give these deserving kids a fun night out.

Email newsletter signup

Our programming received some extra attention when a reporter and photographer from the Minneapolis Star Tribune visited at a recent respite event. The autism services we provide will be featured in the Inspired section of the Tribune on Saturday, May 12.

April is also our main fundraising period for the camps, respite, and outreach activities. Pizza Ranch allowed some of our autism families and program staff to be in the public eye while serving customers. This event raised nearly $600. And, during April we were notified by the United Way of Mower County that we were once again awarded funding for the summer camps.

The seventh annual Stepping Out for Autism Walk was a success bringing in over $5,000 that will go directly to supporting current and new programming. Thank you to all participants, donors, and volunteers for making the month a success and to Mother Nature for giving us a beautiful day for the walk. Sponsors for the walk event included Bollingberg Chiropractic, CRC, Family Eye Care, Games People Play, Holiday Inn, Hormel Foods, Hy-Vee, Mayo Clinic Health System, McFarland Truck Lines, MidTown Auto Clinic, Minnesota Southbound Rollers, Pizza Ranch, Precision Signs, QPP, Rolling Green Fencing, Worlein Funeral Homes, and the YMCA.

Although much ado is given to autism in April, our programming is offered year round and you are invited to learn more about it at www.hormelhistorichome.org/autism-programming.

Viewing of Ken Burns Vietnam War Series

6:30-8 p.m., Monday, May 7

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is bringing the Travelling Vietnam Wall Memorial at the Mower County Fairgrounds from May 17-May 20. Join us at the HHH on May 7th to learn more about the war by watching a portion of the series produced by Ken Burns. Free