CampAbility is a recreational and educational summer program for school-aged children with Autism and other intellectual/developmental/physical disabilities being provided in a fun and safe environment. We have 2 camps that happen for 6 weeks through the summer: kids camp for elementary students and youth camp for 6th - 12th graders. We also offer summer camp sessions to the elementary-aged siblings. This is in order to help alleviate the burden on parents by keeping their children in one location, as well as provide familiarity to the camper with special needs by having his/her sibling nearby and give the sibling(s) companionship with other siblings who understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. The funds will be used to obtain reusable supplies for both camps, offset costs for local field trips, and two ESE facilitators who have professional experience with ASD as the lead teachers. It will also be available for qualifying families for scholarships.
Best Buddies Citizens Friendship program is an adult friendship program for individuals with IDD and those without who are 18 years old or older. One-to-one friendships include matching an adult with an IDD with a peer without an IDD. This buddy pair develops a friendship like any other and promotes a more inclusive world for adults with and without disabilities. Citizen members in North Florida currently participate in a monthly activity that includes a social outing, professional and personal development training, and a fitness-related activity. Citizens also equip participants to become leaders in our community. Grant funds will directly impact the continuation of the Citizens Program, which was launched in September 2021. Support will also empower the growth of the current Citizens Program by increasing program activities and training this year. We are actively recruiting new members with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities who are 18 and older to join this program. Citizen members will then be matched in one-to-one friendships between someone with and someone without IDD.
Since we do not currently charge for our riding participants, the HEAL grant will help fund our summer season which includes program, horse and instructor fees. Open House funds will be used for food and facility fees. The movie outing is now $600 each time which we will split the cost with Special Nation. Funds for the Caregiver Respite Events will be used for food, activities, and gift bags.
The BridgeHaven Community Day Program is a new, pilot program serving adults (ages 22-older) diagnosed with Autism in Northeast Florida. The program will provide much needed and meaningful work, social, and recreational opportunities for our members. Our program will launch in the Summer of 2022, and we are working to secure funding to support all facets of our operations. Specific funding is needed to purchase required equipment to begin our small business ventures. The small business ventures will serve as part-time work opportunities / job training for program participants. We are hoping to purchase machines, supplies, and technology through a HEAL Grant. Many of our adults and students struggle with social interaction. We are creating a social media platform for them to share their thoughts, dreams, and visions with the world like so many neurotypical individuals are able to do. Since autism can be very isolating, our adults are going to plan and implement recreational opportunities for the autism community like dances, game and food truck nights, etc.
Connecting thru Music, Inc is a 501c3 established in 2018 for the purpose of providing music therapy and music enrighment for children with special needs in NE Florida. Currently CTM is providing service at over a dozen schools and settings thanks to both grant and community support. We have identified a critical need for our services in the DCPS Extended School Year (ESY) for children with special needs. We know that without repetition and reinforcement, this vulnerable population is subject to learning loss over the summer. Our goal is to provide music therapy support the foundation of learning and address developmental needs. DCPS is not able to provide funding for art or music during summer sessions. The funds will be used to provide music therapy by board-certified music therapists and music experiences by music teachers. This occurs for 30 minutes, three times/week for groups of 8 students at up to 4 sites: Neptune Beach Elementary, Mandarin Oaks Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary and Palm Avenue which all serve ESE students and are holding ESY sessions this summer for 4 weeks. A grant of $5000 would provide 100 music therapy sessions, impacting up to 80 students.
Smile Camp is a week-long day camp run by Girl Scouts, for boys and girls ages 5 to 11 with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities including cerebral palsy, TMH (trainable mental handicaps), EMH (educable mental handicaps), spina bifida, and visual and hearing impairments. Smile Camp offers campers with disabilities, who might not have the opportunity otherwise, to experience a week of new friends, outdoor adventure, and a sense of belonging in an inclusive environment. Smile Camp 2022 is being held at North Florida School for Special Education, a site designed to be an accessible and safe space for Smile Campers. Smile Campers will have access to the barn and animals at the school for a farm themed day, as well as the playground, gym equipment, and outdoor spaces. Each day at Smile Camp has a new theme with corresponding activity rotations, including games, crafts, music, and outdoor activities. Smile Camp gives children living with autism and other disabilities a break from their day-to-day routine and brings them outside for an entire week of new experiences. The camp also provides much needed respite care for the camper’s parents and care takers. The camp is run by as many as 40 Girl Scouts who are trained counselors ages 14 to 18. Supporting them is a team of up to ten Girl Scout directors ages 16 to 18 and Girl Scout adult volunteers including two adult advisers, a registered nurse and a chef. Depending on the intensity of care needed, counselors are paired 1:1 or 1:2 per camper.
Grant funds will help cover the cost of camp for parents in need of a reduced weekly rate. This will allow families to sign up for camp and/or for families to enroll in more weekly camp sessions.
At our original Growing Together Behavioral Center campus we are honored to be entering our fifth school year in August. At this location we have been gifted with many amazing donations through these years, but one area where we still struggle through our hot months is our backyard. We have a fenced backyard with swings and other playground equipment, but you can't spend more than 10 minutes out there without overheating from the direct sunlight and lack of shade.
Growing Together Behavioral Center Mandarin is a non-profit school for children and teens with autism and other developmental disabilities. At this campus located in the heart of Mandarin, we have our hands-on functional and pre-vocational program for teens who have autism ages 13 - 22. The goal of this program is to prepare our students for their place in this world as adults, and to help them become the most active participants in our amazing community that they can be! This summer we will begin our horticulture therapy and Farm to Table learning! The entire summer will revolve around getting our hands dirty in the earth, planting, watering, growing, cooking, sharing and eating! For some this will be a new sensory experience and fun activity outside in the fresh air and in our beautiful kitchen, for others it may be the blooming of a future career interest in horticulture or culinary arts! Being able to expose our students to theses two amazing arts/therapies will be the beginning of a new pre-vocational project at GTBC, one we plan to keep going into the upcoming school year!
3 day junior golf camp July 11, 12 & 13 from 9am - 12pm each day while juniors learn the basics of golf from putting, chipping and full swing. We also spend time learning about Golf Course maintenance and the nature we see on a golf course. We think it is important to incorporate fun activities for both social and physical well being.
Henderson Haven, Inc is seeking funds to support our 7 week Camp Possible and its FunDay Friday activities - experiences often overlooked for our students in a fun environment while promoting age-appropriate social skills. During camp, students will work on targeted social, academic and life skills. We will utilize community resources and volunteers to enhance the experience. Our summer programs will give us the chance to reach more kids and families and help them begin this fun and amazing journey to ignite passions for recreational fun that carry over into the rest of the year. Programs will be available for students ages 3 to 22 years old.
Our request is for Scholarship funds for our autistic patients who can not afford the cost of care. Hope Therapy started as a dream shared by Marianne and Rebecca (Becky) Davenport, a mother-daughter team with a desire to help others. Marianne, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and Becky, an occupational therapist, both with extensive horse experience, founded Hope Therapy in 2001. Their commitment to high quality services and excellent programs led Hope Therapy to become the only Premier Accredited Center in Northeast Florida by meeting the high standards set by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Throughout the years, they have maintained this accreditation by continuing to meet the standards and passing on-site inspections.
Nestled in Middleburg, FL, the farm is a serene 12-acre property with a wheelchair accessible mounting ramp, outdoor riding arena, and a sensory trail for our clients. In our riding arena, you will find colorful cones, a basketball hoop, letters, and a ring-toss game. The sensory trail has ground poles, barrels, and many hidden surprises, waiting to be found by our clients. To best set our clients up for success, we have adaptive equipment, such as loop ladder reins and activity boards. We also have picnic tables and Adirondack chairs for our client’s families to enjoy as they watch their family member’s sessions. Sessions are individualized and typically one on one with our occupational therapist or therapeutic riding instructor.
This year we will have our 2nd Breeder's Cup Summer Camp for 10 kids with ASD as well as other disabilties. Each camper will pay $300/week to participate in daily activities 3 days/week that are run by our clinical team of PT's, OT's, and speech therapists. Camp will run from 8:30-12pm, and activities will include hippotherapy, horse grooming, circle time to include literacy companion activities and melodic language processing activities, sensory play with arts and crafts, snacks, and games.
Grant funds will be used to provide art therapy scholarships and art supplies for summer programs.
We are league that provides opportunities for children and adults with disabilities/special needs to play baseball. The players and the organizers get great joy and benefit from participation in our league. We play in the spring and the fall. We are looking for funding for trophies and medallions. The grant will be used to purchase trophies and medallions. Medallions are given out at our opening day ceremonies and trophies are given out at our end of season banquets.
Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA) requests grant funding to provide students and their siblings the opportunity to experience a broad range of summer enrichment programs. In past years we have been gifted the opportunity to provide experiences including piano, music & art groups, zoo trips, movie experiences, and other community field trips. For most children on the autism spectrum, the abrupt change of a schedule that transitions from school to summer can be a challenge. To facilitate comfort in regards to this transition, JSA offers an intensive learning continuum along with a focus on physical activity and social fun during the summer months.
During our Intensive Summer Program we want to provide the opportunity for our 'campers' to engage in physical activities which will promote and provide motivation for them to become more physically fit and more active. To increase their strength, balance and movement, sensory processing ability, communications skills, social interaction skills, and self care skills as well as provide a tool to be used for positive behavior modification, we want to utilize the physical activities available to all at the "We Rock The Spectrum" gym. This location provides numerous ways for our 'campers' to become more active and hopefully this will carry through to their everyday life as well. New challenges will be available which promotes motivation to complete these activities at a high level which also increases our participant's confidence and feeling of accomplishment and well-being. Everyone likes to hear praise and "Good Job" and these activities will promote these opportunities.
Kids Connect Today offers social skills classes for children, teens and young adults. We serve ages 3 years old to 30 years old. Kids Connect Today would like to use grant funds to offer scholarships to families who would benefit from our classes but cannot afford them.
Mainspring Academy respectfully requests the consideration of HEAL Foundation of a grant in the amount of $2,030 for its Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM/STEM) Summer Camp program. Your grant will enable us to provide four weeks of hands-on STEAM programming to help support the self-advocacy and social-emotional development goals specified in the individualized learning plans (ILPs) of each of our students with autism (ASD) and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). Since 2015, Mainspring Academy has sought to provide quality, individualized education in a safe learning environment where children with intellectual and developmental differences can thrive. Research findings from various studies found in academic publications such as the Watson Institute, and Preventing School Failure, the Institute of Education Sciences; as well as empirical evidence from classroom-based music programs STEM Power! and STEMfinity on the application of STEAM curricula and activities to the learning plans of youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and IDDs indicate significant improvements in the areas of motor skills, communication, social skills. The purpose of Mainspring’s STEAM Summer Camp is to help support and foster progress in the self-advocacy and social-emotional development goals specified in each student's ILP. By the end of summer, the objectives of incorporating four weeks of STEAM activities to all camp groups are to: increase the average rate of student participation; increase self-advocacy and social-emotional development; decrease the average frequency of aggressions, elopements, and interruptions during lessons; and increase the frequency of reciprocal interactions. STEAM activities incorporating science, technology, engineering, art, and math serve a host of benefits including the development of soft skills such as creativity, problem solving, and perseverance, and collaboration; increasing engagement and motivation; and personalizing students’ learning experiences. Mainspring teacher’s assistants and registered behavior technicians (RBTs) will consult with the school BCBA and teachers regarding baseline data and student goals, collaborate to develop a full hands-on STEAM curriculum, and construct evidence-based interventions STEAM projects, crafts, activities, and experiments specific to the developmental levels of each of our students. Observational data will be measured before, during, and after program implementation to determine progress in the project objectives, as well as to incorporate any necessary adjustments for continuation in future Intersessions and Camps. Mainspring Academy is the only school in Jacksonville that serves a high and diverse population of nonverbal students, language-impaired students, and students with moderate to severe profound diagnoses. Students in the STEAM summer camp program will have hands-on access to different building, problem-solving, and creativity projects which will promote stress management, improved communication, mobility, and social interaction. Grant funds will support one major camp-wide project per week in the STEAM Summer Camp program.
Mandala Family Wellness is a clinic that focuses on joining all disciplines of therapy to create a combination of innovative wellness and evidence-based practices to help each client achieve optimal health and well-being. The clinic partners with clients, family, teachers, physicians, and other community members to meet the needs of each client. Through individual child/adolescent/ adult therapy, family therapy, marital counseling, mediation, psychological testing, and parent education, Mandala demonstrates compassionate care through enrichment programs and services. Mandala is seeking to continue our sensory integration experiences for all clients and their families. These include our sensory garden, coping skills pathway, musical exploration and social games for this upcoming summer. During the summer, clients are encouraged to continue services with no disruption between school and summer scheduling. Activities are planned to focus on social skills, adaptive and community-based skills, functional living skills, communication skills, self-advocacy and self-esteem skills, as well as meet all individual sensory needs. Multi-sensory and physically engaging materials allow our learners to explore independently and with others, building personal confidence and building play and social skills with peers. The funds will be used to purchase materials and equipment that will aid in all students further developing and participating in social skills, play skills, and adaptive skills. Additionally, included are stepping stones for a mindfulness pathway to allow students to individualize and create a stepping stone. These stepping stones (concrete forms the students can decorate and imprint with their hand print) will create a pathway for the students to utilize outdoors. Students can use the mindfulness pathway for sensory breaks, self-regulation, and coping skills. Below are links to materials that aid in facilitating hands-on materials that are necessary for students to increase exposure to new resources and manipulatives.
Our program will be designed to inspire children and/or teens on the autism spectrum through immersing them within safe, intimate, small group sessions, aimed at focusing on their innate strengths. By drawing from each individual’s musical and non-musical strengths, and meeting them where they are emotionally, socially and developmentally, each of their areas of need, such as social skills, communication, behavioral self-regulation, sensory-motor impairments, speech/language skills, and attempting new skills, will be addressed. All sessions will be facilitated by a Music Therapist and a Music Educator. We will be engaging the participants in bucket drumming ensembles, bongo, frame, vibrational, conga & tongue drums, singing protocols, Prodigy Bells curriculum (teaches & reinforces the musical element of “pitch”), piano/keyboard skills, movement/dance, song writing/composition, improvisation and reading rhythmic notation. Pictures and videos of each child/teen will be taken and shared with their parents/guardians. Sessions will be two hours in duration, giving their parents an opportunity for either respite or to join in on our groups. Siblings will be welcome. We have partnered with several different ABA centers, and families (private homes) affected by autism, throughout Duval and Clay counties to ensure a safe space for our sessions to unfold. Grant funds will be used for provider implementation and facilitation of the 8 weekly sessions for two separate groups; one in the Orange Park/Ortega area, and the other in the Mandarin area (subject to change). All musical instruments and relevant equipment will be supplied by the Music Therapy Services, Inc., and/or their staff members. Securing funds for this program will provide professional Music Therapy sessions, conducted by highly experienced staff, at no cost to parents, many of whom are single parents, have more than one child in their home on the spectrum and/or medically fragile, and lack financial security. These parents have very limited personal time, and many of them are homeschooling their child(ren), for a variety of reasons. We hope to enrich the lives of families affected by autism by involving children/teens in success-oriented, inclusive music-based sessions, while gifting their parents the chance to experience some much needed personal time.
Peace of Heart Home is licensed for 6 residents, and offers respite for teens and young adults. Respite services provide us the opportunity to serve up to 3 community members daily. POHH has partnered with various internship programs and volunteers to help educate those from our community. The volunteers and participants express the program’s mutually beneficial design, as meaningful, lasting friendships have been formed.
Farm Enrichment Summer Camp will provide three 3 days a week camp in first week of the month for the months of June, July & August. Summer Camp will have 10-12 participants from the community to gather, share, socialize and experience field trips to themed camp weeks & destinations. So far, we have confirmed 100% participation of 11 special need individuals from our local community. Peace of Heart Farm Enrichment Program will use grant funds to expand the current operations of the Vocational Enrichment Program. The grant will allow accessibility to three 3 week, 3 day summer field trips to themed destinations to include shared transportation, supplemental staff support and supplies needed for successful camps. The Farm Enrichment Program is currently offered at no or limited cost to participants, and with the assistance of the HEAL grant, the program can offer a dynamic Summer Camp program offsite to further enrich the lives of those young adults in our community with autism.
Primarily we are seeking funding to expand our program in two ways. Foremost to increase the number of individuals we can serve and secondly, to diversify the types of experiences we can offer in both the social and experiential realm. Goal #1: Increase the number of individuals that we serve by 50%. Goal #2: Increase the program offerings to our young adults with disabilities by incorporating a visual arts and other media program, an ongoing theater arts program, and a dancing program. We would also like to expand enough to include woodworking or other industrial arts. The overarching goal is to reach as many individuals as possible, despite the ability to pay and provide them with social experiences with other clients their same age as well as provide job skills that will guarantee them some self-reliance and independence in their lives. To expand our offerings, we will need to partner with Atlantic Beach artists to teach painting, or art using 3-D media, continuing to have an ongoing relationship with Jax Players by the Sea, and work with local dance studios to introduce various types of dancing. We will need to connect with a nutritionist (to include mind/body connections) and other individuals to start a woodworking and industrial arts class. As you may know, our individuals progress at a rate that is difficult to measure in a very constrained timeline. We look for improvement in behavior, overall independence, a willingness to take directions, competency, and self confidence. All of which are difficult to quantitatively measure. However, once awarded the grant, we will collect job placement statistics, feedback from employers through surveys and interviews, as well as anecdotal evidence from parents and students on how PossAbilities Plus helped them improve their lives and the lives of their families. **Since many of our programs are volunteer-based, we want to consider the realistic sustainability of this model. We will need to solicit people that are willing to work for us long term on a salary basis. on a salary basis. Also, our programs utilize other programs that may rely on volunteers as well. We would have to pay for experts in dance, art, etc. to run these programs for us at a considerable cost that may not be met by thrift store sales or tea room reservations.
Our goal is to provide activities throughout the summer for individuals with autism. Our activities will include: Regular Wednesday night Friends Group gathering at Redeemer Church and other locations throughout the community including the beach, Peace of Heart, and Bit of Faith Ranch. This is a time for families to come together and enjoy community and learning about being followers of Christ. Once a month we will also celebrate the birthdays for that month and have Karaoke night. Special Nation at the Movies (partnering with Bit of Faith Ranch) - Third Saturday of every month up to 50 people can gather at the movies in a sensory friendly no hush private theater. Second Sunday Special Praise - full no hush church service with worship, sermon, and communion. This is a very special intimate time for the individuals we serve and their families to go to church where they find total belonging and acceptance. Two Social Gatherings – a dance for the entire family and a back to school event. The grant funds will be used to pay for half of the movie outings over the summer, gifts for birthday parties and special occasions, food, sensory items, supplies and staff for events and social gatherings.
We are a Pre-K/early intervention site through Duval County Public Schools. We currently have 67 students enrolled in 7 classrooms that service children between the ages of 3-5 with diagnosis consisting of language impaired, ASD, and developmentally delayed. We recently received SMART interactive TVs to better assist with academic learning and are consistently in need of supplies to support the need of our students. We utilize visual supports as well as the most current research to improve communication , although we are in need of more. The grant will immediate effect the teaching strategies, behavior modification, and overall growth of our students.
School Year Programming at the Ranch will include our Adaptive Riding Seasons, Open Houses, Movie Outings, and Caregiver Respite Events. Our School Year Adaptive Riding Seasons: Current participants are invited to ride during the school year months during our scheduled weekend and after school programs. Participants will have an equine assisted session which includes grooming and riding with the assistance of a volunteer horse lead and sidewalker(s). Our budding equestrians gain skills and confidence with every session. Open Houses: This is open to the entire community which includes all participants, their families , and potential riders, and other local autism community groups. All are invited for a fun relaxing evening at the ranch. Dinner served, horse grooming, golf cart rides and fun and games. Movie Outings: Partnering with Special Nation, we host monthly private movie viewings for our participants and their families. Up to 50 people will share one theater. Our guests are comfortable to enjoy the movie however they want. Free to walk around, make noises, even dance if they would like. It's a great opportunity for the population we serve to experience movies for perhaps the very first time. The cost has increased to $498 each time because we would like to move to a bigger theater to serve more individuals. This is one of our most popular outings so we are committed to continuing this opportunity. Caregiver Respite Events: We have monthly gatherings for mothers who have children/family members impacted by autism or related disabilities. We alternate monthly between an evening out and a lunch. This is an opportunity for moms to get together with other moms facing some of the same parenting challenges. They can let their hair down and just enjoy being with others who “get it.”
The BridgeHaven Community Day Program is a new, pilot program serving adults (ages 22-older) diagnosed with Autism in Northeast Florida. The program will provide much needed and meaningful work, social, and recreational opportunities for our members. Our program launched in August of 2022 and has gotten off to a tremendous start! Our vocational operations have already seen orders and requests for business. At this time, we are seeking specific funding to purchase required technology and materials for our products – both in the development and ready for distribution phases. Our program requires the technology to take, track, and manage orders, communicate with customers, and schedule our workflow. Our community members are making soaps, candles, fragrances, specially designed coffee mugs / wine glasses, and screen printing. The small business ventures serve as meaningful, part-time work opportunities / job training for program participants. Many of our adults struggle with regulation and enjoy working on tasks to help keep their mind focused and body engaged while participating in educational sessions. Moreover, individuals with Autism are often challenged with motor planning/control, fine motor skill development, and hand-eye coordination. Since opening the program in August, identifying and implementing effective task engagers has been a focus and a need for our program participants. At this time, we are seeking funding to purchase task boxes which help to stimulate engagement and focus for our program participants, as well as develop fine motor skills necessary for advanced vocational tasks.
Connecting Thru Music has been providing music therapy and music enrichment for children with Autism and related disabilities since 2019. We are requesting funding to start a program at Landmark Middle School ESE program. We would like to start in the PLA classroom which has 6 of the most severely handicapped students. These students have primarily moved on from Neptune Beach Elementary School (NBE) and have demonstrated great success and growth with the support of our program which is evidenced by the data that we collect and feedback from parents, teachers and administrators.
We are Private School located in Orange Park that work and teach students that struggle in the public school system. We also provide Behavior therapy supports to help students work through their daily struggles. We have noticed a need to get these kids interested in outdoor activities and crossing the midline can be a struggle. Giving these students access to physical education and different sports, including the fundamentals, will broaden their days and teach them how important physical activity is in our lives. Our goal is to get each student willing to participate in a daily form of physical activity. "Together we can change world"
Henderson Haven is seeking funds to support our Free 2 Be Me School and After-School Enrichment program and outdoor recreation activities.
HorsePlay Therapy Center is the only nonprofit organization in Northeast Florida offering a medical model of hippotherapy (physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy on horseback) for children with special needs who have diagnoses that include autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, sensory processing disorder, and genetic disorders. Hippotherapy provides multiple benefits for children with special needs that include balance and postural control, sensory input, and respiratory support for speech production, just to name a few. The emotional connection that the horses provide lead to improved confidence and social-emotional well-being in both our children and veterans alike. Our innovative therapy for children and veterans enhances traditional therapy by allowing participants to experience a special connection- sensory and physical- with their horse and the nature that surrounds them as they work towards their goals. Should we receive the HEAL foundation grant, this money would go to continued scholarships for our low-income families to participate in hippotherapy services. At HorsePlay Therapy Center, no veteran or child is denied the use of horses in their therapy services due to ability to pay.
We are league that provides opportunities for children and adults with disabilities/special needs to play baseball. The players and the organizers get great joy and benefit from participation in our league. We play in the spring and the fall. We are looking for funding for trophies and medallions.
There’s a generation of students enrolled at Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA) who are quickly aging out of the more traditional school-based services of academics and classroom curriculums, finding themselves transitioning into new life circumstances, as young adults who suddenly have no official financial support and/or professional services that they’re able to fully rely on. By the age of 22 most assistance-based programs and scholarships are no longer available, creating an alarming issue for these newfound young adults, who are now dependent on their immediate families and caretakers for getting the supports and services they desperately require. Away from the halls of JSA and within the autism community at large there is an entire generation of young adults without programs able to facilitate the services, supports and/or placement they need as they begin aging out of more traditional school-based services. This creates a tremendous demand for systems and programs that can utilize the unique abilities that individuals with autism possess, while establishing vocational enterprises that can create systems which provide structure, purpose & much needed resource for them to thrive. At JSA we are attempting to do just that, by growing our program along with the growth of our students and their unique needs, constantly adapting and developing our services to fit their individual requirements. One way we’re facilitating this growth is through ‘On Campus Enterprises’, one of such is as an agro-business model we are developing that will allow their current gardening therapy sessions to blend seamlessly into a vocational model which will give them more access and control over their futures. The older students will focus their gardening sessions on product development and tailor the styles of gardening and growing that’s being facilitated to fulfill the products that are being created. This on campus enterprise within the gardening program will not only consist of weekly therapy sessions, but monthly markets, workshops, trainings, community engagement & so much more. It will focus on the vocational development behind production and bringing products to market, including but not limited to, growing & harvesting, cleaning, preparation and production, packaging, labelling, order fulfillment, deliveries and shipping, stocking & preservation, etc.
Kids Connect today offers social skills classes & clubs for children, teens and young adults.
Mainspring Academy respectfully requests a grant of $1,563.33 to enhance our sensory room to improve outcomes for our 55 special education students. A review of 2022 Mainspring Academy student data shows Mainspring serves one of the highest rates of students with moderate to severe diagnoses in Jacksonville. 80% of students are nonverbal, language impaired, or have a diagnosis of mixed receptive-expressive language disorder. 74% of Mainspring students have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 58% of students have dual diagnoses. 14% of students have a diagnosis of intellectual of developmental delay (IDD). 14% of students have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy or muscular disorder. 12% of students have a learning or anxiety disorder. 10% of students display aggressive behaviors and abide by a clinical behavior treatment plan. More than 80% of students at Mainspring have been removed from, or previously attended, one or more public or private programs that did not foster progress in their independent and functional learning goals. For many students, Mainspring Academy is the only school in Jacksonville that provides the tools and experienced staff to meet their unique needs. A fully interactive and integrative sensory room with a variety of proprioceptive, kinesthetic, auditory, tactile. and vestibular tools tailored to our students’ unique needs will not only provide our students with school-based enrichment experiences, but will also help teachers address self-regulation, motor, and social-emotional development goals defined in each child’s learning plan, by providing evidence-based input which will allow the child to increase participation across multiple settings.
Our program is comprised of the use of percussion, vocal singing and accompanying musical instruments to reach largely non-musical goals, such as social skills, emotional reciprocity, non-verbal communication skills, behavioral self-regulation, and motivation. We design and facilitate strategies to create paths for neurodiverse children and teens to become contributing members of our community. Research-based music interventions in which our students themselves are the performers, not merely audience members, illuminates the benefits of inclusivity. Private schools for those with ASD, senior living communities, group homes/private homes, as well as outside events are the venues for these performances. We wish to expand this specific program within our organization through the acquisition of high-quality musical instruments, such as a variety of types of drums, and string instruments (autoharps, ukeleles).
This fall we want to "exchange experiences"! We want the community to learn about each resident and expose them to individuals with autism. We also want our residents to learn and experience everything the world has to offer. We want to begin by music, art and culture. By exposing them one on one to these different places we can learn more about our residents and focus on extracting their desires and passions.
Our enrichment program is a way for autistic individuals from our community to come with a caregiver and work and learn on the farm. POHEP provides a safe environment for them work in our organic garden, learn new skills and work alongside their peers!
Building Better Job Skills through Music Therapy is an adaptive job training program/therapy created by PossAbilities Plus and Connecting Through Music. This three module, nine week program, provides support to develop skills in communication, executive functioning, reliability and responsibility. The program is offered twice a week in the afternoons to allow for small groups as well as after school participation. This program is geared for individuals fourteen and older to prepare them for a job setting. Building Better Job Skills reaches an under-served population in our community. Typically, individuals who have aged out of the school system have little to no access to programs which develop and enhance skills to support independence.
Ridgeview Panthers Transition Program is a transition program for Autistic and Intellectually Disabled young adults. They have all graduated but have deferred receipt of their diplomas to participate in this program. They can stay until the age of twenty-two. In my program we offer students adult living skills such as cooking, gardening, safety, and other things they will need for adult living. Young adults with autism spectrum disorder can have sensory issues and communication needs. Students introduced to various forms of art can help with sensory and communication needs. A student can learn to communicate by using art to tell what they are trying to say. I would like to show my students the ways of self-expression through art. Weaving, drawing, painting, crafts, rug making, and so much more. I feel this would be great for this program by giving our students a chance at art. I remember the first time I gave my autistic students paint and told them to put their hands in it, they were hesitant until I and put my hands in the paint and made the first handprint. Before long they all put their hands in the paint and then on a wall leaving their handprints. When the handprint dried, we would touch our prints and feel the ridges and bumps of the paint. After that if we had a painting project, we had to do handprints. It was awesome. First was sensory then came individuality.
I teach vocational skills in our Community Based Vocational Education program at the school. I currently have 38 students on my roster with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. We learn about the workforce through our curriculum and on-site job opportunities. Students are working in various settings within our school district and operating various microbusinesses. One of our microbusinesses we currently have on campus is the selling of plants. I have an operational greenhouse that students get to help grow plants that will be sold in the spring. Plants are purchased when they are plugs and students replant the plants and nurture them to plants that will be sold to our faculty and staff on campus. Students are involved in the organization of the greenhouse, the repotting of the plants, marketing of plants, the sale, and the maintenance of the greenhouse.
Access Career Preparation and Access Unique Skills
The purpose of this project is twofold: First, this project is near to my heart due to the love for animals that my students have. Over the last two years, we have had two hamsters in the classroom as pets and the students have absolutely fallen in love with them. We started this school year with four chickens and their response to this has been amazing! All of my students have been diagnosed with Autism and very often become overstimulated when in unusual or unexpected situations. The goats will be beneficial in helping my students calm their anxiety. And secondly, I want my students to gain life skills such as animal care and basic responsibilities. This project will provide my students not only employability skills, but also emotional skills such as empathy, compassion, and building confidence. My hope is that my students will be able to hold a job after high school and work with animals; skills that they would have gained through our class project.
Our goal is to provide after school and weekend activities throughout the school year for individuals with autism and related disabilities. Our activities will include: Regular Wednesday night Friends Group gatherings at Redeemer Church and other locations throughout the community including Peace of Heart, and Bit of Faith Ranch. This is a time for families to come together and enjoy community, music and Bible devotions and seasonal celebrations. We utilize tailored curriculum and object lessons during weekly meetings. Once a month we will also celebrate the birthdays for that month and have Karaoke night. Special Nation at the Movies (partnering with Bit of Faith Ranch) - Third Saturday of every month up to 50 people can gather at the movies in a sensory friendly, private theater. Second Sunday Special Praise - full no hush church service with worship, sermon, and communion. This is a very special intimate time for the individuals we serve and their families to go to church where they find total belonging and acceptance. Winter Social Event – a community invited social gathering and dance for the entire family.
Assistive Technology Services evaluates, trains, and implements technology for students with disabilities in gaining access to their curriculum. Assistive Technology refers to any "product, device, or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." With the invention and development of the eye gaze, we can help students with a wide variety of challenges. We are able to evaluate and trial new applications the device that target communication challenges (i.e. Proloquo2go or TD snap) On average we assess over 10 students a year for eye gaze as well as have on average 10 students who using eye gaze in the district each year. Assistive Technology can be an equalizer for students with disabilities and we hope to continue to narrow the gap.
The introduction of play is extremely important to autistic children who are often isolated and have a desire to be alone. This may be the first time they are in a structured educational setting and we need to work on interactions with others and one way we can do that is by different types of play. We have varied student levels and want to be able to introduce several types of play to see which type the student may respond best to. We request funding to allow us to purchase new materials to develop this program.