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April 2024 Newsletter


Where hard work and compassion meet to form the perfect family: Meet Akila Dharmalingam, WeEMBRACE’s very own family member and patron. 


Joining WeEMBRACE at the very emergence of the organization, Akila learnt from the get-go that being a parent meant being a student first. She believed that WeEMBRACE provided a safe space for families that valued community and togetherness. 


Akila’s favorite part of WeEMBRACE is the bi-monthly seminars. These seminars range from available services from state and federal programs to much needed legal services that most families aren’t aware of. She cannot stress enough about the parent support this organization provides.


Her best experience in WeEMBRACE by far was actually when the organization had just begun in 2018. “My daughter (along with her now close friends) sitting side by side doing their own creations –like my daughter lacing beads, coloring, crafting, and painting. They were all in their own zone and together… Feels like from that point to having our own work space now is like a dream come true.


From the beginning to now– when WeEMBRACE has its own center “WeHaven”– Akila has never forgotten to express her gratitude to the volunteers behind our cause. She believes that WeEMBRACE is a “grassroots” organization that is only thriving because of our amazing volunteers. She wants new volunteers to come with an open mind and cherish their experience in WeEMBRACE. 


Even now, she does her best to include and see everyone for who they are. Her presence can majorly be seen in organizing social clubs, recreational activities and adaptive sports. And with WeEMBRACE’s new center, WeHaven, Akila is looking forward to exploring more vocational activities. 


All things considered, WeEMBRACE is very lucky to have Akila as our family and hope that more volunteers and members learn from her journey!


Written by Mansi


Embracing Inclusivity: Varsha Bondu’s Journey with WeEMBRACE


In 2018, Varsha Bondu became a part of WeEMBRACE, introduced to it by a friend who was already involved. She was drawn to this organization because of a previous experience with a Buddy Program in elementary school, where Varsha had the opportunity to buddy up with individuals with special abilities.  This desire to promote inclusivity led her to join WeEMBRACE, where she has continued to volunteer with them to this day.



“WeEMBRACE hosts various events, and some of my favorites include the 5K walks, the dancer dance, and the February show.” Varsha has also attended online classes where she interacted with individuals who are neurodivergent, which presented its own set of challenges due to the lack of in-person interaction. Varsha appreciated the inclusivity of these online sessions, making them accessible to everyone.


For Varsha, what stands out about WeEMBRACE is the genuine effort they put into including every individual, whether or not they are directly involved with the organization. This commitment to inclusivity is truly beautiful and impactful in our community.


One of the significant events she participated in was the 5K walks of inclusion in 2022. It was a heartwarming experience, and Varsha received tremendous support from fellow volunteers, making it possible to create an inclusive space for neurodivergent individuals. 


On a personal note, Varsha’s long-term goal is to become a doctor, and she sees her involvement with WeEMBRACE as a valuable learning experience in interacting with diverse groups of people. She hopes to carry this awareness and inclusivity into my future career and continue volunteering for organizations like WeEMBRACE. 


Varsha advises current volunteers to never underestimate the impact they have on the organization and looks forward to continuing her journey with WeEMBRACE, advocating for a more inclusive and empathetic society.


Written by Anushri



Special Story for April: ASD Awareness Month


Spring is in the air, and with it comes a month dedicated to celebrating the unique strengths and experiences within our community! April is a time to champion inclusivity and understanding for all.


Over the years, awareness of these differences has blossomed. We’ve seen a beautiful shift towards creating spaces where everyone feels valued and empowered to be their authentic selves. Here at WeEMBRACE, we celebrate the beautiful mosaic of our community! This includes individuals with neurodiverse strengths and experiences. Our volunteers play a vital role in creating a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone. Here are some tips to help you be an inclusive champion in events and activities at WeEMBRACE:


  • Embrace open communication: 

  • Ask individuals how they prefer to communicate and be receptive to different styles. 

  • Initiate conversations and practice active listening. 

  • Show positive body language by maintaining eye contact and speaking in a friendly voice.


  • Be mindful of sensory sensitivities: 

  • Some individuals may be overwhelmed by bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells. Offer opportunities for brakes in quieter areas if needed. 

  • Try to observe communication cues and minimize distractions in activities if possible.


  • Be patient and understanding: 

  • Some individuals may process information or complete tasks differently. 

  • Offer support and encouragement in a kind and respectful manner. 


  • Celebrate differences: 

  • Recognize and appreciate the unique talents and perspectives that neurodiverse individuals bring to the table. 


  • Positive reinforcement: 

  • Focus on praising effort and participation rather than just the outcome. 

  • Recognize everybody’s strengths and empower individuals to reach their full potential through encouragement.


Integrating these small tips can help volunteers and buddies create a safe environment for individuals to participate in and showcase their talents!Written by Mansi



Recap:


This month we want to highlight our monthly sensory gymnastics open gym. This is where our participants meet their sensory needs while having fun. This is a professional gymnastic gym available just for our participants to explore at their own pace. The rings, bars, tumbling tracks, trampolines, form pits & much more. This is where every participant gets to be silly, doing tumbling tracks, jumping mile high on the floor trampoline regardless of their age while engaging with each other, working on communication skills & waiting for their turns.  Parents/ caregivers having their own time to socialize is an added bonus.





Upcoming Activities for April:


Here are the weekly events for the month of April:

  • Drum Social - Sundays 11.15 AM - 12:15 PM

  • Sewing & Embroidery - Sundays 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Silk thread Jewelry making - Sundays 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Chaat & kaffe Training - 2:00 PM -5:00 PM

  • Indian Fusion Dance with Frank - Saturdays 2.00 PM - 3.00 PM 

  • Arts & Crafts - Saturdays 3.30 PM - 4.30 PM

  • Social Club - Saturdays 4.30 PM - 5.30 PM 

For more information to participate  visit: weembracefamilies.org/enrichment-programs


Here are our Monthly  activities 

  • Bowling social - April 6th Saturday 12.30 PM - 1.30 PM

  • Open Sensory Gymnastics  April 7th  Sunday  1.30 PM - 3.00 PM

  • AAC Social - April 20th  12.45 PM- 1.45 PM 

  • Cookies Decorating  April 21st  3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

If Interested please visit: weembracefamilies.org/socialactivities 


Annual events in APRIL


We have our very first Inclusive Holi 

(which was postponed from March to April because of the bad weather) coming up on April 14th, Sunday starting at 1.00 PM.


Annual Sports Day

April 28th Sunday  8.30 AM for Individuals who are neuro-diverse ages 5 and above with or without mobility at Cordova High School, Rancho Cordova

Interested in participating or Volunteering in the above events please visit: www.weembracefamilies.org/weembrace-events


And finally our bi-monthly parent seminars are back !! 

These virtual seminars are full of a wealth of resources, conducted by the professionals in the field. At the end you get to ask your questions and get an understanding of the programs that are available.



Written by Akila




Credits to WeEMBRACE's newsletter Team!!

Mansi: Team Lead and writer

Akila aunty: Writer

Aashika: Writer

Anushri: Writer



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