The story of The A Team Justice League (The A Team) begins with people. Concerned, passionate, generous people who want to create a better world for those with disability and their families. In 2012, our first full year as an organization, we provided services to hundreds of families in the Eugene/Springfield and surrounding areas. We developed vital connections between individuals otherwise secluded by disability. Our programs offered families hope, empowerment and a chance to participate in community activities.
The A Team organizes many different activities for families to come together and build and strengthen relationships forged by the bond of disability.
Online Facebook Forum
Our confidential online Facebook forum exists for caregivers to share with one another in a safe, supportive environment. It is a setting that does not require leaving the home, as many are isolated because of their circumstances. This forum allows people to vent their frustrations, share their achievements and compare resources. Above all, parents have regular contact with others who understand what they are going through. Research shows that this type of connection decreases stress for the caregiver which is positive for the entire family.
“You guys (A Team mom’s on Facebook forum) are so awesome. You need to realize you guys helped me when there is no one else. You help me get through my tough times and I appreciate you sooo much!!! Thank you.” - Forum Participant
The A Team public Facebook forum offers activities and current topics to anyone interested in disability. We finished the year with 270 allies ‘friending’ this site.
We offer Movie Nights to view disability-related films and then spend time discussing related issues. We welcome parents and caregivers as well as teachers, specialists, college students and any community members.
Mama’s Night Out
The A Team organizes Mama’s Night Out every month. Mothers meet a local restaurant for a relaxing evening of camaraderie, friendship, and a little time away from caregiving for their children.
Meet & Greet
Before the first Meet & Greet event, most A Teamer’s had only met online. So, we planned this great get-together event. The A Team provided a nice brunch for over 40 parents to enjoy while meeting and visiting face-to-face. Mostly mothers, these ladies were so excited to finally meet in person and make new connections. We plan to host this event once per year.
It is difficult for many families to occupy their children during the long school breaks. So The A Team is organizing family activities during those times. These activities include gymnastics, swimming, roller skating, meeting at parks, etc.
Sensory Safe Santa Holiday Bazaar
The Sensory Safe Santa Holiday Bazaar offers a chance for children to have their photos taken in a less stimulating environment and an understanding Santa. These children would struggle to wait in line or deal with the sensory overload in the traditional mall setting.
ENCOURAGING SCHOOL INCLUSION
Special Education Parent Support Group
At the end of 2012 we started a pilot program Special Education Parent Group at a Springfield elementary school. Parents of children with a variety of disabilities joined in. We discussed strengths and challenges at the school and came up with positive solutions to help support our children at the school. We presented our ideas to the principal, the PTA, and to the Director of Special Education. Because of our efforts the school and PTA were able to make some simple, yet effective changes to help our children be more included and feel safe during school events. We hope to continue this program at this site and expand to other local schools.
There are many local government organizations working with children and families affected by disability. These agencies want to know what other organizations such as non-profits are doing to help these families. Members of The A Team board present at resource panels, and speak at and participate in council meetings and advisory groups to further the awareness of The A Team and the specific issues we focus on.
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