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Necessity Really is the Mother of Invention

March 24, 2010

I do not have a personal connection to autism, but in my capacity as the Our Child Safe social media maven I have worked with a number of people who do deal with it in a very personal way every day.  I recently read an eye-opening article by actress and autism activist Holly Robinson Peete that really drove home why the challenge of autism can be overwhelming to many families ( Eight Facts About Autism the Media is not Covering.)

Until I read Peete’s article, I had a false assumption about the resources available to parents of autistic children; namely, that there are a lot of resources out there.  Clearly that is not the case.  It seems that many organizations are “home-grown,” started by parents who saw a need for something to answer their own questions and concerns.

One of those parents is a dynamo named Kim Covell, who founded an organization called Flying Point Foundation for Autism in the fall of 2008.  “I was surprised at how difficult it was to find recreation and other activities outside of school that were geared toward kids with different needs, and I wanted to be able to support groups that did provide that service,” says Covell.  The ultimate goal of Flying Point Foundation is to open or fund a summer camp program for children with autism to provide kids and their families with an option during what Covell calls the three week “black hole” between the end of the local extended summer program and the start of the new school year.  “There is no place to take the kids, plus their skills begin to deteriorate,” she notes.  “We want to fill that gap.”

In the short year and a half since she started Flying Point, Covell has accomplished, quite frankly, more than I am likely to accomplish in a lifetime.  The organization has benefitted from numerous fundraisers including an annual 10K run/2K fun walk, a local Kiwanis Club golf event, a “ride inside” bike-a-thon, a “Wrap it up for Autism” gift wrap event, and a collaboration with a jewelry designer resulting in some really cute handcrafted jewelry pieces available on the Flying Point website.  World Autism Day (April 2) will be commemorated with a special program to benefit FPF, “The Awe in Autism:  An Evening of Music with Savant Brittany Maier.”  

But wait, there’s more!  Kim Covell also started a second website, Give a Buck for Autism.  No fancy-schmancy marketing ploy, no tug on your heartstrings or guilt-inducing hard sell.  It’s short, sweet and to the point:  donate just one dollar to the Flying Point Foundation and then forward the link to your friends.  Little effort, big impact.  Now that’s my kind of activism!

What I find particularly amazing (not to mention humbling) is the fact that Kim finds the time and energy to accomplish all of this in addition to being the mom of a child with autism.  Any parent on a mission to help their child is a force to be reckoned with, but some have the added impetus of knowing that their efforts will make life easier for other kids and families, too.  I love seeing mompower in action.  And when it positively impacts a whole community of families, it is truly a beautiful thing.

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