When I started the Aspiring Youth Program in 2006, I never would have imagined the journey I was about to embark upon. I have been able to meet incredibly remarkable young people and incredibly resilient families.
Over these past twelve years, one of the most striking things that I have observed is the strength and optimism of the parents in our program. Even when your child has hit a setback, you have hung in there, kept perspective and consistently sought out resources that will help your child have an enriched life. The challenges you have faced make you stronger, not weaker. Raising a unique learner can be really challenging, but it certainly leads to a strong sense of understanding when you encounter other parents who have also gone through it. When we see two parents from our program connecting, we notice a deep bond over a shared experience.
It was tremendously exciting last year when we held our inaugural parent community event, the PEAK Celebration. This was our first opportunity to gather a large group of parents together who have those shared experiences. We heard from great speakers and had a fun and lively auction that helped increase the impact of our program in the community. Most importantly, we shared the momentum that a great community can provide. As parents, you got to soak up a big, vibrant community and a lot of laughs and connections. As a staff team, we came away from the event reinvigorated and with new ideas and energy to create programs that serve this awesome parent community.
This year, we’re excited to build on that momentum. We are in a wonderful space, the great hall at the Mountaineers Club in Magnuson. We have a great keynote speaker, Bill Kenower, who will share his experiences as a parent. We will be recognizing Dr. Ilene Schwartz and hearing her perspective as a champion for inclusion. Of course, we will have an exciting auction and fundraiser that helps serve more families and build more programs. This year, we will also have a dedicated teen and young adult community event in an adjacent conference room at the Mountaineers. It’s going to be a great chance for teens and young adults to share art, get updated on social opportunities (including our new social media platform, Quirkboard), play table top games and have a delicious dessert.
I truly hope you can make it to the PEAK Celebration this June 10th. It is the highlight of the year for our program and it is a great way to connect with other awesome parents from this community.
Ben Wahl, MSW
For more information about the PEAK Parents event and for tickets, click here!
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