You may have heard us say… Aaron’s Acres is all about relationships! It is these connections that help spread the word about Aaron’s Acres and its programs. Many of the organizations that we partner with also serve children and young adults with disabilities. We are happy to share the work of these organizations and what they are doing to better their local communities. Today, we would like to highlight Andrew’s Gift.
Mission: Andrew’s Gift was developed to provide support to individuals and families living with an autism spectrum disorder. Through the generosity of local founding donors and nonprofit organizations, the foundation seeks to assist those who are pursuing opportunities for individuals with autism but are struggling to find the funding. Families and individuals living in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Lebanon & Lancaster Counties may apply for grant money to be used for things that directly improve the life of an individual with autism.
Andrew’s Gift started 8 years ago and is named after the founders’ son, Andrew (who will be 35 this weekend!). Andrew’s Gift serves families in Central Pennsylvania and now extends to 5 different counties in the region. The organization focuses their efforts on families that have children with autism.
Applicants can apply for a variety of needs through Andrew’s Gift, including:
- General needs – this includes things like recreational activities, specialized equipment and basic human needs
- Technology – this includes iPads
- Literacy – this includes technology and tech support for classrooms
The team at Andrew’s Gift is a big proponent of getting technology into the hands of families who need it. The team recognized that the iPad received a great deal of attention as an accessible tool for its potential to enhance the lives of those living with an autism spectrum disorder; however, the team also realized that this is only possible when proper training and support is provided to families and caregivers. In response, Andrew’s Gift began to offer an opportunity for those who are interested in learning how to better use their devices through their iPad Day.
Andrew’s Gift holds three iPad days each year – in April, October, and November. During these iPad days, families come out and receive 1:1 training for the devices provided. Andrew’s Gift provides 75-100 iPads to families each year. There are approximately 30 families coming out for iPad Day in just October!
The literacy program at Andrew’s Gift allows schools to apply for a three-year technology project. Technology is provided to the classroom and technical support is provided over a three-year period. The support lessens each year as the school becomes more comfortable and learns more about the technology. Andrew’s Gift is new in at least eight different school districts and multiple classrooms.
The partnership between Andrew’s Gift and Aaron’s Acres happened rather organically by word of mouth as families shared with other families how the organization might be able to help their children attend Aaron’s Acres summer camp. This connection led to more families learning about Andrew’s Gift and what they can provide families in the area.
Those at Andrew’s Gift are always happy to see an application come in for Aaron’s Acres. They are always happy to fund programs like Aaron’s Acres that can provide camp experiences to children with autism. It is through their own experiences that they see the benefits of this kind of programming.
To learn more about Andrew’s Gift, visit https://www.andrewsgift26.com/