Spotlight on Autism in Long Beach

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spotlightEverythingLongBeach.com recently spoke with Autism in Long Beach/Jane Tipton, Jane Tipton, CEO of Autism in Long Beach, via email. They talked about the inspirations and challenges of running a nonprofit organization in Long Beach.

How long has Autism in Long Beach been around? Did it start in Long Beach?

Autism in Long Beach started and remains here in the City of Long Beach. Three years ago. We have always been in Long Beach but we do have families from surrounding areas.

Describe Autism in Long Beach. Tell us a little about your nonprofit, your mission, the people you serve or your goals.

Our mission is to make Long Beach the #1 City Globally to provide inclusion and resources for our Special Needs Community. We serve the Long Beach Area and surrounding cities. However we have families as far as The Bay Area, South Africa, and East Africa that follow our posts and keep in contact with us.

How is Autism in Long Beach different from similar nonprofits?

Autism in Long Beach focuses directly in our Community. We believe that if you work in your Community first a lot of Nationwide problems would be solved. Focusing in your community allows for more families to receive direct help and support.

How is Autism in Long Beach involved with the community?

Our group also works directly with local Non-Profits. We assist and attend at their events, as they do ours. We have helped serve breakfast with We Love Long Beach, walked in Pride parade with Catalyst Group, and helped ASK Long Beach (asklongbeach.org) clean up our cities Skate parks. We are at our booth at Farmer’s Market Downtown Promenade between 3rd/4th st. on the 1st & 3rd Fridays unless we have another Event.

What are some of the biggest successes Autism in Long Beach has had?

We have two main events a year. Our Bully Free Zone 2 picnic and our Autism Angel Holiday Program. These events have been successful to our mission statement by providing the Community an arena where they can help and meet our families directly and see where their funds go. In turn, it helps families to know Long Beach cares about them.

What is the most rewarding part of running Autism in Long Beach?

The most rewarding part of starting Autism in Long Beach is to see families that would normally shy away from Community events, in fear of being scolded for their parenting during our kids meltdowns, show up and participate at Local events. They are beginning to feel a part of our City.

What are the challenges you face — as a nonprofit, as an advocacy group, or in your industry?

Our biggest challenge is funding and recognition. There are so many bigger groups that have the resources to spread their word. With those resources their names become household words and that’s what people feel comfortable writing checks too. However, when you are so big your nationwide the individual families are often left behind. Advocacy and locally haven’t been an issue, respect within the bigger picture has been. Luckily we are Grassroots and don’t focus much on the politics.

What are the future plans for Autism in Long Beach?

The first year we spent out in the typical Community trying to figure out what services we needed in our Community. The second year we went out in the Typical Community and Autistic Community. In the typical Community we spent the majority of our time being of service to other typical groups to let them know that we are willing to help just as much as we needed help. We served breakfast with We Love Long Beach, walked in pride with Catalyst, met with the Skateboard Community etc. In the Autism Community we attended many events and Conferences. As we participated in these events we took notes on what the families seem to enjoy and what they weren’t happy with. We did surveys with our families and asked a lot of questions. We ran into some hiccups and instead of walking away we became even more focused and really grasped what we liked instead of the negatives and built these same events locally. For our families, not for recognition. This year with help from our Community we’ve been able to struggle less through event planning and focus more on Education. In 2013 we’d like to combine all of the above learning experiences, while staying Grassroots, to consistently give the families what they need and deserve.

Do you have any special events or fundraisers you’d like to tell us about?

We have our annual Bully Free Zone Summer picnic June 3rd, 2012 at Houghton Skatepark in Long Beach California. ASK Long Beach, Deviant Design Group,Foundation for Disabled Youth, Councilman Steven Neal, and Long Beach Stuff are Co-Sponsors. With the help of my mentors, and friends, Mike Donelon, Daniel Timtim, Tim Scanlin III and ASK Long Beach Board we have the Long Beach Skate Community coming out to participate in a day dedicated to encouraging the Community to keep Long Beach Bully Free. Skatedogs will be providing free skate lessons. We will have local Food Trucks, Skate Community Vendors, Skate Demos, Adaptive Skaters, Speakers about Bullying, Book Signings, A Special Needs Talent Agency search by Linicomn Agency and Signing Families, Autism and Special Needs Vendors, Demo’s and activities by Long Beach Indoor Futsal, Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studio, Squeeze Art Collective, An all Girls Skate Demo by Moxi Roller Skates & Silly Girl Designs, Facepainting and a special cool down area for Over stimmed kids provided by Trumpet Behavior and Community Autism Now.

How can people get involved with Autism in Long Beach? What do you need — volunteers, donations, etc?

You can get involved in several ways with Autism in Long Beach. The first and most important way is to be compassionate when you see a child, and even an adult, acting out in public. There may be an underlying condition. We also need Volunteers. You can email Autisminlongbeach@yahoo.com with the subject Volunteer and your information. Donations are always needed to keep our events, inclusion program, and workshops free to families. You can donate by mailing donations to Autism in Long Beach 6444 East Spring St. Box 102, Long Beach, CA 90815. Or going to our website and clicking paypal. You can also use paypal.com and our email for paypal is autisminlongbeach.org. Any donations are appreciated!

What is the most inspiring advice that you received and who did it come from?

The most inspiring advice I have been given has come from two people. One a parent of an Autistic teen and the second from my mentor Mike Donelon…

“At some point we have to stop worrying about a cure and just focus on helping our child” ~Marisol Romeyn

“Don’t worry about what you can’t control. You keep doing what your doing your and there will be nothing left but success” ~Mike Donelon

One Last Thing:

Stop giving yourself to people who don’t deserve it. If you want to waste your time on a person that doesn’t truly know you… find a stranger in need and give it to them.

Autism in Long Beach Details:

Address: 6444 East Spring St. Box 102, Long Beach, CA 90815

Phone Number: 562-234-4755

Website: autisminlongbeach.org

Comments

One Response to “Spotlight on Autism in Long Beach”
  1. Jane Tipton says:

    Thanks Marisol…. as a parent of an older child on the Spectrum, you have inspired me!