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Autism Council’s First Evening of Hope

On April 20 the Autism Council was proud to sponsor ithe first “Evening of Hope” for families and friends of autism. This wonderful evening was hosted by Autism Journeys and organized by the ACU training committee. The goal of the evening was to give those in attendance a message of hope and encouragement.

Reverand Tom Goldsmith spoke about hope, reminding us to look at the big picture, recognizing that hope comes from looking beyond the immedicate situation. He assured us that the dawn will always come after the night, and that spring will always follow winter.

Rabbi Shcwartsman helped us learn the lessons from the passover and to recognized the 4 children that reside in all of us: the wise child, the wicked child, the questioning child, and the child that doesn’t know what question to ask. All of us have these 4 children within us, and it is important to recognize what child we are, and what child others are at the time.

Brandon Gunnel, former LDS Bishop and father of a wonderful young boy with autism shared 4 sources that we can find hope in 1) those who have gone before us, 2) our family, 3) our God and faith, and 4) in our children with autism. We were also fortunate to hear a song “I am a child of God” from his young son Isaac. It was very heartwarming.

The conclusion to the evening was a very special musical number performed by Eric Stoker. Eric’s mother shared Eric’s passion for music and his struggles and determination to learn the art of music. Eric is a very talented young man who happens to have autism.

As a parent of a young adult with autism, I cannot tell you the value of the words of hope that spoke to my heart, and the joy and encouragement I felt after the evening. It was such a wonderful night, and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.

A special thanks to Kate Anderson, chairperson and Lori Kransny and all those who helped with child care. It was such an incredible evening.

“The effects of autism are far-reaching. Having faith in ourselves, our children and our community is what keeps us strong when times are at their worst.”

Laura Anderson