2014 Partner in Policymaking Grad Update


Cheri Hakes, AADD Partners in Policymaking Graduate and Spectrum Board Member

Cheri Hakes participated in the 2014 class of Partners in Policymaking in order to fine tune her advocacy skills and bring added value back to her nonprofit Spectrum Autism Support Group.

“My participation in Partners in Policymaking has helped me in several ways. I learned so much from the two weekends full of amazing speakers. I was able to see things from very different views,” says Cheri. “I have continued a relationship with AADD since Partners and the knowledge of all AADD offers has come in handy. AADD is helping my family with Supported Employment options for our son and I have been able to refer a number of people for other supports.”

Spectrum Autism Support Group was established in the fall of 1998 for families, friends and teachers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) within Gwinnett County, Georgia and the surrounding areas. “We are a parent operated group whose mission is to provide support, education and resources encompassing the entire spectrum of ASD for children and adults,” explains Cheri.

“As a result of Partners, I enlarged my circle of contacts and built some amazing friendships. Along with the training, this has helped me in all aspects of advocating and helping others through Spectrum,” continued Cheri.

Spectrum Support Group meets at 6:30 PM the first Thursday of every month at First Baptist Church in Duluth. Spectrum offers Social Skills Groups, including groups for Aspergers & High Functioning Autism, Tweens & Teens, Siblings, and Young Adults during its monthly meetings.  The nonprofit also has groups for dads, grandparents, parents of adults with Autism and parents of children with Aspergers.

Spectrum currently serves over 600 families in Gwinnett County and at least seven surrounding counties and is pleased to be able to sponsor school year programs and six weeks of summer camp for children of all ages with ASD. All of the programs offered have been developed to provide each child with opportunities to build friendships and generate social awareness within the community while improving self-esteem, self-awareness and independence.

There is no cost for families to attend the monthly meetings and childcare is available.  However a $5 donation is greatly appreciated to help cover the cost of materials. For more information visit, http://www.atl-spectrum.com/aboutspectrum.html

AADD is taking applications for its 2015 Partners In Policymaking class through Jan. 30, 2015. Apply here.

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