Austin Adults with Autism Celebrate Grand Opening of ‘An Independent Me’ (AIM) Residence and Summer Camp that Aims to Empower and Inspire
An Independent Me (AIM), a full-time residence and summer camp for adults (18 and older) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Round Rock celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, June 30th from 4-8 p.m. Interested parents and the local community are encouraged to attend to learn about day camp opportunities and full-time residence at AIM.
AIM kicked off its first session on June 11, 2012 and with seven campers and one resident in attendance, the first two weeks have been a major success. Adults at AIM have learned how to build a picnic table from wood planks, care for livestock on the ranch-style property, sew, and plant the seeds for an on-site vegetable garden. The grand opening is open to the public and will include bar-b-que, horseback riding, a petting zoo, games, and a silent auction featuring camper-created art and picnic tables.
AIM exceeds standard expectations of group homes for individuals with development disabilities, providing:
- personalized care, attention and support with a 3:1 ratio (three campers/residents to one staff member);
- specialists to create developmental plans for each camper; and
- partnerships with local community organizations to offer unique job, microenterprise, and volunteer opportunities.
Last week, one animal-loving camper shadowed a veterinary technician for two days at nearby Block House Creek Animal Hospital. Angela Day, AIM founder and mother to son with autism beams with pride, "In developing An Independent Me, my heart is full as I spend time with the smiling faces of these innocent souls, teaching them to become as independent as possible, and providing rewarding and individually challenging activities for them on a daily basis."
The opportunities created at AIM open doors and help residents and campers uncover new skills and aspirations. “The AIM camp pushed my 17-year-old to do things he might never have done before by taking the time to understand him, encourage him and cheer him on,” according to Trina Sherman, mother of a current AIM camper. “He comes home with a new confidence and new social opportunities that will enrich his life far beyond what just two short weeks can do.”
As AIM continues to build on its strong start, its founders plan to partner with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), which has already expressed support. Jennifer Kaut, DARS Autism Program Specialist states, "I encourage the efforts of AIM ranch to enlist campers and residents in the DARS process and to focus on increased independence through work. I love that AIM is trying to honor and promote their strengths.”
The Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park communities are invited to attend the grand opening event on Saturday, June 30th from 4-8 p.m. at 4350 E. Whitestone Blvd.
Cedar Park, TX 78613. Register for the event here.
AIM is parent- and community-funded, and continues to seek full-time residents, as well as donations of art supplies, toiletries, food and drink, and monetary donations as part of its Sponsor-a-Camper program. To learn more about this year’s campers, visit the Sponsor a Camper page on the AIM website. Camp registration costs $400/week for day campers and $800/week for full-time resident campers. Any donation amount is graciously accepted at http://www.anindependentmecamp.eventbrite.com.
AIM has capacity for five additional full-time residents. To visit the camp, enroll a camper, register a full-time resident, or to partner with AIM to provide job and volunteer opportunities to campers and residents, please contact Angela at akcday(at)yahoo(dot)com.