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June 2024 Newsletter


Hello everyone! Thank you for your patience with this issue of the newsletter. We'll be uploading them regularly from now on.


A little late Mother's day shoutout:

Volunteering with WeEMBRACE: A Journey of Fun, Learning, and Family

Mother’s Day Special with Deepti and her daughter Roshini


Volunteering is an act of kindness that not only brings joy and happiness to others but also to oneself. When we volunteer, we not only give our time and skills but also gain a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and connection with others. And when it comes to volunteering with WeEMBRACE, it becomes even more special. From art classes to danceathons, and sports days to fashion shows, WeEMBRACE provides a platform for everyone to express themselves, learn new skills, and make new friends. 


Deepti and her daughter Roshini’s journey with WeEMBRACE started in 2017 when they stumbled upon it at a community event. Being from India, where they had a cousin with cerebral palsy, getting to know about WeEMBRACE and its cause was a very wholesome feeling for them. The mother-daughter duo started volunteering, and since then, it has been a journey of fun, learning, and family. They have been part of many events like art classes, sports day, danceathon, fashion show, etc., and each event keeps them motivated to get even more involved.


Roshini started volunteering in programs like art classes before the pandemic as she is very interested in art and loved sharing that time and skill with other kids. Roshini is also part of the Buddy Match program, where she was able to form a family-like bond with her buddy. Over the years, both mother and daughter have seen that when you volunteer, you start to get closer to WeEMBRACE and start to become part of the family as well, and it doesn't even feel like volunteering anymore; it's just having fun with everyone. They find it amazing to interact with the kids, and we love how energetic both the kids and parents are: ready to try out anything and put their utmost dedication into the events.  


Volunteering as a mom and daughter has been an incredible experience for them. Seeing Roshini enjoying the experience with the WeEMBRACE family was the motivation and drive for Deepti to get even more involved in volunteering. Not only is it fun quality time but it also helps strengthen the bond between them and connect our hearts even more. We always encourage both kids and parents to bring their families into volunteering because that way, volunteering is even more fun.   


If you are looking to volunteer with WeEMBRACE or any other organization, remember to have fun, be open to learning from everyone, and appreciate the time that they all give you and the memories that you make. Don't over-stress about what or how you can help; there are always ways to add something on your part to a wide variety of activities that WeEmbrace plans. Volunteering with WeEMBRACE is an amazing experience that brings joy, learning, and family together.


WeEMBRACE: Finding Connections in Community


Finding a community can be tough, especially after a major life change. 

Krithika Rajaraman arrived in California during the pandemic, a time of isolation and uncertainty. New to the state and facing lockdown restrictions, she felt adrift. However, WeEMBRACE was there for her when she needed that family.


Online Classes, Real Connections:

Even outside WeEMBRACE, Krithika is dedicated to supporting and helping neurodivergent kids grow. She believes that these classes provided a crucial link to the outside world during a time of social distancing. It wasn't just about the activities; it was the sense of belonging that mattered most. 


Beyond Participation:

Krithika doesn't just participate in WeEMBRACE – she embodies its spirit. She's worn many hats – a Zumba instructor, a social activity volunteer, and a dedicated parent who attends classes with her daughter.


A Space for Everyone:

What truly sets WeEMBRACE apart is its commitment to inclusion. Krithika emphasizes the organization's core value of acceptance, where everyone feels welcome regardless of background or ability.


“This group really makes you feel at home. That would probably be the best thing I would say. You know, as I told you I moved from a different place moving uprooting is very hard. And I feel like you know, I can share things here easily without being judged.”

A Heartfelt Thank You to the WeEMBRACE Family:

The story concludes with a powerful message of appreciation. Krithika expresses her gratitude to the dedicated volunteers who make WeEMBRACE a reality. They're not just providing activities; they're fostering a future generation built on understanding and acceptance.



Research Story: Art Therapy


Art and art therapy are commonly used by many to promote a positive and stress-free environment. Art allows people to express themselves freely, whether it be their emotions or their thoughts. Many people with ASD think visually so art allows them to process their memories, record visual information, and express their ideas. Furthermore, they can think symbolically and in an abstract manner. Overall, art can help with an array of characteristics, such as communication, emotions, and also stimulation.


Art and creative expression can allow individuals to improve their communication skills. Such skills can help people with ASD see other perspectives and also recognize/respond to facial expressions. It is helpful to note that focusing on a person’s art and discussing it can build stronger bonds and also allow for better understanding. Communicating through art can be a much better alternative for people who find face to face interactions stressful.


Art can also greatly impact one’s emotions and their responses to external stimuli. Art allows for more emotional and sensory regulation which can positively impact one’s behavior. Furthermore, it can channel self-stimulating behavior into creative play and can improve one’s coping skills. Since art is enjoyable, people will be encouraged to tolerate stimuli which they might usually avoid, such as the texture and smell of the supplies they use. Finally, art can help improve fine motor skills.


People with ASD may not be exposed to a lot of opportunities for artistic media so it is important to provide them with opportunities to do so. Here's a list of potential art activities that you can provide for someone with ASD.


  • Ice Cube Drawings

Mix non-toxic acrylic paint with a small amount of water. Pour the water & paint mixture into an ice cube tray. Place a popsicle stick in each section and cover it with foil to keep the mixture from spilling. Leave the tray in the freezer and wait. Once the ice cubes are frozen, you can use the ice cubes to paint as wanted.


  • Peel and Stick Sand Art Kit

Peel and Stick Sand Art Kits allow one to peel back sections of the art piece and pour sand on certain parts to create an art piece. Sand art can increase verbal expression, social interactions, and also spontaneous play among children with ASD.


  • Playdough Sculptures

Playdough structures allow for structured, sensory, and pretend play. Playdough is a great sensory material and can be made easily at home. Scent can also be added to playdough if wanted.

Meet Sakshi Balasubramanian: Embracing Artistic Passion


Sakshi Balasubramanian, an eighth-grader at WeEMBRACE since 2018, finds her joy in artistic expression. For Sakshi, art is more than a hobby—it's a source of happiness and focus. From diamond art to watercolors, she explores various mediums with enthusiasm. Engaging in art not only brings her calmness but also enhances her classroom concentration. Sakshi's artistic journey at WeEMBRACE is a testament to the community's commitment to nurturing individual passions. Through her creativity, she inspires others to embrace their unique talents and find fulfillment in self-expression.




WeEMBRACE Calendar of Events

Stay tuned for these upcoming special events!


2024 SPECIAL EVENTS 


  • Vocational skills Informative Seminar - June 1st 9:00 AM PST

  • Bowling – June 8th, 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

  • Making Thank you Greeting cards   June 8th - Saturday   3 PM – 4:00 PM

  • WeHaven Library - Grand opening   June 8th - Saturday  3:45 PM – 5:00 PM 

  • Family picnic - June 9th, 2024, Sunday 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM

  • Yoga for wellness - Upa Yoga  JUne 14th Friday  4:30 PM  5:30 PM

  • RASA Theater Arts Holistic Department Informative seminar  June 15th Saturday  9:00 AM  10 AM  PST

  • AAC with CTEC Monthly meetups June 15th, 2024, Saturday 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

  • Dads get together – June 15th, 2024, Saturday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

  • Family Pool Party  Sunday June 23rd 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

  • Vocational Skills Parent/Caregiver Training June 29th 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

  • Vocational Skills Assessment for Students June 30th 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Summer Virtual Classes – 8 Weeks   June 17th to August 10th

  • RASA – WeEMBRACE Classes 10 months July 1st, 2024 – April 30th, 2025

  • Bowling – July 13th, 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

  • Family Pool Party - July 13th, 2024, Saturday 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

  • Play mode yoga for Parents and Caregivers – Sunday July 14, 9 am to 10 am

  • AAC with CTEC Monthly meetups July 20, 2024, Saturday 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

  • Open Gym July 28th, 2024, Sunday 1:30 PM  3:00 PM

  • Bowling August 3rd 2024 , Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Inclusive 5K Walk August 11th, 2024, Sunday, 8:00 AM – 11:30 AM

  • AAC with CTEC Monthly meetups August 17, Saturday 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

  • FALL Virtual Classes 10 weeks August 26th, 2024 – Nov 1st, 2024.

  • Bowling September 6th 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Danceathon September 21st, 2024, Saturday 3:00 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Bowling October 5th 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Halloween October 26th, 2024, Saturday 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

  • Bowling November 2nd 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Diwali party November 9th, 2024, Saturday 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

  • Holiday party December 7th, 2024, Saturday 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Bowling December 14th 2024, Saturday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM



2025 SPECIAL EVENTS


  • EMBRACE Stars January 26th, 2025, Saturday 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

  • Spring Virtual Classes 10 weeks    February 10th, 2024 – April 18th, 2025

  • Resource Fair March 1st, 2025, Saturday 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM

  • Holi Celebrations March 15th, 2025, Saturday 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM

  • Sports Day April 12th, 2025, Saturday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

  • Mom’s Get-together May 3rd, 2025, Saturday 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

  • Inclusive 5K Walk - August 3rd, 2025, 8:00 AM – 11:30 PM

  • Dance-a-thon September 13th, 2025, Saturday 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

_______________________________________________________________________________


2024 MONTHLY/WEEKLY EVENTS 


  • AAC Meetups Student/Parent Sessions – June 10, 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5 Mondays 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM 

  • Indoor Basketball - June 2, 9, 23, 30 July 14 and 21 Sundays 4:30 PM -5:30 PM  

  • Dance with Frank June 23, 30, July 14, 21 August 4, 18, 25, September 8, 15, 29 October 20, 27 November 3, 10, 17      SUNDAYS 1:00 PM  2:00 PM

  • Drum Circle   June 23, 30, July 14, 21 August 4, 18, 25, September 8, 15, 29 October 20, 27 November 3, 10, 17     SUNDAYS 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

  • INDOOR SOCCER July 28, Aug 4,18 and 25 Sept 8  Sundays 10 am -11 am

  • Yoga for Neuro Diverse July 6, 13, 20, 27 Aug 3, 10, 17 and 24 Saturdays  2 PM – 3 PM 

  • Enrichment Programs  Aug 3, 10, 17, 24, September 7, 14, 28. October 19, November 2 and 16

  • Saturdays 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

  • Chaat & Kaffe   Aug 3, 10, 17, 24, September 7, 14, 28. October 19, November 2 and 16

  • Saturdays 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

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