Thursday, November 15, 2007

About HappyChucks

(updated 4/09 )

Who am I?
What’s my link to autism?
What is this blog about?
Why am I doing this, and what do I hope to accomplish?
What does HappyChucks mean?
What type of fundraising efforts have I/we done?

Who am I?

That’s a difficult question to answer! I am Calvin & Jonas’s dad, and Cheryl’s husband. I am a partner in The Phoenix Agents (a Phoenix-area real estate team), and have lived here since 1970 – not quite a native, but awfully close! I’ve spent most of my life seeking out face-paced, high-energy activities, but have begun to enjoy slowing down a little bit; lately I’ve found an interest in writing and digital photography.

Need to learn even more about me? Here's another bio page.

What’s my link to autism?

My older son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months-old. By 20 months he was in a full-time, 40 hours a week, intensive ABA-type home program. Since that time, we’ve experienced an entire new world – one that we never even knew existed before then. Therapies, food and diet, medicines and homeopathy, education and IEPs... I can’t say we’ve done it all, but we’ve done quite a bit, and we’re learning and experiencing more every day.

What is this blog about?

This is an outlet for me to share what I’ve learned and experienced, as well as new things I think about each day, with others. Anything is fair game – discussion about various therapies, products, schools & school districts, activities, events, news, stories, or anything else that I feel like writing about. Hopefully my writing will touch a few chords; if I can generate some interaction with others “out there” then I can probably learn even more than I share.

Why am I doing this, and what do I hope to accomplish?

For me, the time just felt right to start this project. I have a lot of good information that others can benefit from, and this is a great way to share it with the people who are looking for it. Cheryl & I have spoken with a lot of families along the way, but it’s generally because of a word of mouth introduction – somebody’s child get a diagnosis, and they know someone who knows us and recommends they give us a call.

I’ve been blogging about Phoenix Real Estate on for over a year now, and have really enjoyed it. But it’s restrictive – I can’t write about everything I want to, and I’m writing for a completely different community. I want to use my experience from to build a place where families can learn, teach, and share their experiences.

If I can help one family: Get diagnosed earlier; Improve their therapy choices; Gain better education for their child; Brainstorm a better way; or even just to make sense of the why’s and how’s... If I can do any of that, then I’ve made a difference. If I can do it repeatedly, than I’ve really accomplished something. And I’m willing to bet that along the way I’m going to learn some great new things that can help Calvin and my family as well.

What does HappyChucks mean?

Ask anyone who knows Calvin what’s the first thing they think of when they hear his name, and you’ll get 5-10 different answers. But the two answers you’ll hear most often will be:

Happy. Calvin is one of the happiest boys I know, and he shares his infectious smile with everyone around him.

Chucks. good old fashioned Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One time we bought Calvin a pair of Chuck Taylors, just because they looked good on him. That week his teacher asked if he could wear them every day, since they were the first shoes he could not kick off during class! He has been wearing them almost exclusively ever since, and has several pairs in several colors. It’s become his trademark.

What type of Fundraising efforts have I/we done?

I currently sit on the Board of Directors for Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona (NMTSA), a non-profit organization serving more than 350 Arizona families each month.

We’ve spearheaded “teams” to raise funds at the Walk Far for NAAR walks.

We’ve organized groups to walk at the Zoo Walk for Autism and Zoo Walk for ASD.

I’ve done pro-bono business consulting for Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC).

Cheryl has chaired the Wine & Cheese w/ Silent Auction for Kris’ Camp in 2007 and 2008. (and 2009)

I developed and implemented the Friends of Kris’ Camp program, with funds being shared between Kris’ Camp and Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona (NMTSA).

I chaired the 2007 Holiday Raffle for NMTSA.

We have donated time, energy, and expertise along the way – sitting on various committees, attending functions and events, and volunteering.

So far we’ve personally helped to raise over $35,000 for various autism-related charities. (as of spring 2009)