The founder of an Illawarra charity that helps families and carers of people in the region with autism has decided to step back and give someone else with similar drive and passion for the cause a chance to lead it into the future.
Karen Meiring de Gonzalez, of Skin Correctives, is passing the baton to Jennifer Ratcliffe, of Mary Kay. But she will continue to be involved in the capacity of honorary founding lifetime member.
Care & Share has grown and reached the point where Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said it was time for it to become an incorporated association. She will still be involved in events and wants to express her gratitude and appreciation to all who have helped get Care & Share for Autism where it is today.
Which she said could not have happened without so much support from people such as founding committee members Francine Bishop, of Mayvin Training, and Debra O’Brien, of the Aspect South Coast School.
“Care & Share for Autism is about awareness and supporting families with Autism by hosting inclusive events where everyone has the opportunity to smile and be themselves without judgement. “ASPECT provided the platform as an auspicing body for Care & Share for Autism to be able to raise funds by networking with and gaining sponsorships from community members and businesses to enable the inaugural ladies day to come to fruition,” she said.
After seeing the need Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez received the support of many friends and fellow business-people. From the outset Mrs Bishop managed social medial and online marketing. Mrs O’Brien was able to help co-ordinate the annual ladies day with an environment condusive to it being Autism friendly. Henny Williams, of Essential Bookkeeping Solutions, was then asked to join the committee as treasurer. Mrs Williams has been able to oversee the registration of Care & Share as an incorporated association.
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said it was not easy to make the decision to resign as president of Care & Share. But she knew the time was right to pass the baton and was excited to announce Mrs Ratcliffe was taking over.
Mrs Bishop has also resigned from the committee due to her increase in workload with the success of the Digital Business Hub initiative.
“Without her support and expertise, Care & Share for Autism would not be the success it is today, Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said.
“Christine Jeffreys and Alexandra Simoes have also joined the committee over the past few months and will be joined by newly elected members over the next few weeks. The committee's priority at this time is to put all efforts into the Care & Share for Autism's Family Fun Festival being hosted at City Beach on July 1, 2016.”
Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said the changes were important and she was excited about the future.
“Care & Share for Autism will continue to value our relationship with ASPECT as a foundation partner. We hold common values and a vision for creating innovative and inclusive community based social events for people on the autism spectrum, their carers and families,” she said.
“The impact of autism, often misunderstood by others, can result in social isolation, anxiety and depression for members within the family unit. Care & Share for Autism is about extending autism awareness throughout the community, carers sharing their stories with others on a similar journey and taking a break to recharge and think about their own resilience and wellness. The result hopefully is a reduction in the isolation and a new community understanding of autism.”
Care & Share for Autism wants families to know others do care and that we recognise the extraordinary role they play in nurturing their loved one on the autism spectrum.
“Aspect South Coast Schools knowledge and experience supporting people on the autism spectrum ensures our Care and Share for Autism events foster participation by catering to the sensory and social needs of the participants. This is through adjustments to the environment like acoustics, lighting, visual representation of social procedures, agendas, mapping of venue, targeted activities to suit ages and stages of participants and provision of staff to support the participants and the events,” Mrs Meiring de Gonzalez said.
We hope our partnership and collective vision continues to bring carers together for respite, social opportunity, information and inspiration as Care and Share for Autism moves forward as an independent charitable incorporation.
Facts about autism
- The incidence of ASD is approximately one in 100 births and is characterised by the way the person relates to their environment and interacts with people.
- The word spectrum describes the range if difficulties that people may experience and the degree to which they may be affected.
- The main areas of difficulty are in social communication and interaction, repetitive or restrictive patterns of behaviour/ interests and sensory processing.