Thursday, March 25, 2010

Southern Maryland Give Camp: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland received a great gift this past weekend at the Southern Maryland Give Camp.  (Go here for my take on the event.)

I received an even greater one.  I received knowledge.  Knowledge to keep the website up and running:
  • Knowledge to use some numbers/symbols in those passwords!  (Won't that just generalize out into my whole cyber life!)
  • Knowledge of how to make things happen behind the scenes to look right from the front row.  (Lists and links and uploads...)
  • Knowledge of how to be accessible without revealing our real email addresses!  (Because looney people exist.)
  • Knowledge of how to create news items and newsletters.  (To keep my community updated and informed.)
  • Knowledge that Google Calendars exist and that I can easily tend them.  (If it's as easy as it looks, who knows -- one day I might do away with my own paper calendar and highlighters.  Maybe.  It's a control thing.)
  • Knowledge that tracking exists, and I can have reports that will help me make the website (and therefore services) better.
  • Knowledge to never use the admin login as TOTAL NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION will occur.
I also received knowledge in other areas:
  • I learned what it's like to be on the receiving end of generous donations -- donations that take my breath away.  Jim (and by extension, his family) donated so much of his time that I honestly don't know how he did it.  One hundred and one people volunteered their time and services to make the event a success.  The Support Group is used to helping others; we're not used to being helped.
  • On a personal level, I learned to look at my son's future with hope.  I looked around the roomful of these IT volunteers and I saw a group of successful men who had the depth of caring to donate "themselves" -- their down time, their time away from their families, and their expertise -- for this cause, thereby helping me to help my son.  And (no offense to any of them who might ever read this blog post!) chances are good that some of them may have a place on the Spectrum.  I'd love for my son to be just like them.
Knowledge is no trivial matter.  When you live in the world of special needs and special education, knowledge is critical to getting services for your child, to advocating for your child, to making a difference for your child.

The Southern Maryland Give Camp:  The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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