I have enjoyed the privilege of being a volunteer for Kind Tree- a grass roots organization whose volunteers exude loving and passionate support for the autism community- a population severely underestimated and under served. As a watercolor instructor at the summer retreat (a weekend camping and enrichment experience specifically designed for people on the autism spectrum, as well as their families and caregivers), I witnessed the absolute joy that participants had as they splashed beautiful color onto the paper as well as the proud, accomplished feelings they had when their paintings were complete. Watercolor painting is just one of the many exciting workshops and activities offered at the retreat. Sadly, as the class I teach takes place only on Saturday, each year I have had to make the difficult decision whether to participate in this amazing event, or to stay and work as a vendor selling my art at the local Saturday Market. Kind Tree made it possible for me to participate one year by generously offering to pay me a stipend so that my participation in the event would not be a such financial hardship on me. This, to me, was an extraordinary gesture, given that this group operates on such a shoestring budget. It not only showed tremendous support for me as an artist, but also demonstrated the value they place on providing a rich art experience for retreat participants.
I have also enjoyed the pleasure of being a juror for the annual Autism Artism show for which artists from far and wide submit their work. These artists pour their heart and soul into their work and it is incredible that Kind Tree makes it possible for them to display their work professionally in a gallery, as well as to offer it for sale to the public.
The impact this organization has on our community is immeasurable. There is no other organization in our community that serves the autism population the way Kind Tree does. Be it recreation, the arts, or social groups and outings - everyone who wants to participate is welcomed with open arms. As a parent of an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome, I am very comforted to know that this supportive community exists, should my own offspring ever desire to participate.
I urge you to support this vital part of our social network that serves a community whose needs are high but whose recognition and acceptance is low. Many people on the autism spectrum (my son being one) slip through the cracks and are not being served through government programs such Developmental Disabilities Services, and, in turn, are not eligible for brokerage services. Kind Tree- Autism Rocks helps to fill a tremendous gap for people acutely in need of social support and who are hard pressed to find it in our society. Not only do they serve individuals on the spectrum, but their gift to this community extends to their families, care givers, and educators, as well as to the general public. I urge you to help keep this incredible volunteer organization alive and thriving by supporting it with your financial backing.
Regarding the camp, it is great, but it needs to be longer and we need to have a day where people can just "hang out." No events, but just where they can relax and chat in their cabins or stim rooom or whatever. I wonder if a nap time would be appropriate. People on the spectrum tire easily and nap. A jam session with T.R. Kelley would be cool. In the pinata, there should no candy with just stim toys. No puzzles, plastic dinosaurs, etc. We could have a day where a shuttle takes us all over to the beach. That would be great. Do we need the same menu exactly every year? Pictures need to be taken more equally of everyone also. Perhaps more entertainers if we stretch this thing into a week. Other than that, it's good. Whoever picked our spot did a great job with that. Keep it up!
This a great non profit. Very inclusive of everyone. I love that they provide an opportunity for people who experience autism to be in art shows and sell their art work and the self esteem booster that is for the folks and their families.
The support group for people on the spectrum is extremely helpful.
Their camp is a high light of my year and the lives of all who attend. For a weekend we all play together and families feel supported and not alone. Everyone is accepted no one gets weird looks. Its a dream come true with lots of art projects, swimming and boating, talent shows, concerts, karoke, good food, camp fires, etc. As a volunteer I have so much fun helping out it isn't even work.
I love referring the families with children who have autism that I work with as a social worker about this organization. i can't say enough good about them.
KindTree Productions has actively benefitted a significant number of clients in my agency. For people we serve, access to creative expressions through KindTree is paramount in their overall integration and inclusion in our community. They provide appropriate support, mentoring and activities to a wide range of individuals and are successful in their dreams and pursuits.
I have been involved with Kind Tree for over 10 years. They are unique in the respectful exciting manner with which they invite people who experience autism to find their artistic voice. The camps they provide are amazing experiences. Hundreds of people have attended and been relaxed for the first time, free for the first time, appreciated fully for the first time and neurotypical people are allowed to be part of the magic. The art shows bring a powerful and meaningful voice to the artistic community. I have been moved to tears, laughter and learned more about the world by having the privelege to view this art. Many of the pieces live in my memory as a guide post to humanity.