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St. Gerard House
Home of The Grotto Center
February 2016

Contact Us
St. Gerard House
620 Oakland Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791
Appreciating Autism
“Within every living child exists the most precious bud of self-identity. To search this out and foster it with loving care; that is the essence of educating an autistic child,” Dr. Kiyo Kitahara
SGH Program News
Feed the Need: The Garden Program is now in session! This session will continue until February 19, 2016. For information, please call Julia Matthews at 828.693.4223 or email The Spring Culinary and Garden programs will meet March 21-May 22!

Connect: The Connect Social Skills program is in session! Winter Sessions will continue from now until February 16! For more information, or to enroll, call us at 828.693.4223. For more information, click here. The Spring Connect session will be March 22-May 24! Please call us or click the link above for more information.
Family Group Night: The next FGN Meeting will be on Monday, February 15. Dinner will be served at 5:30! Click here to register! 
Giving to SGH
Even a small contribution makes a big difference for us as we continue our Mission to serve those facing autism in our community.

 *We are a 501c3 non-profit, so all monetary and in-kind donations are tax-deductible.
SGH Blessing
For our staff, seeing a former Grotto student reading happily and confidently alongside classmates in a mainstream classroom was a special, unforgettable moment. We continue to be blessed and amazed by our kiddos and the progress they make every day! 
Autism in the News
[Champion Autism Network 1.13.16] Surfside Beach to Become Autism Friendly Destination 
[Forbes 1.31.16] Autism Risk in Children Quadrupled For Moms with Maternal Obesity and Diabetes 
[Fox News 1.27.16] Apple Store Employee's Kind Gesture Toward Special Needs Boy Goes Viral 
[Huffington Post 1.27.16] Teen With Autism Didn't Think He Could Be a Barista; Then He Started Dancing 
St. Gerard House News!

SGH Expansion: St. Gerard House was featured in an article written by The Asheville Citizen-Times on January 25. The Citizen-Times is excited about our plans for expansion, and so are we! To read more about our growing programs and services, click here
Spotlight Carolina: SGH had the amazing opportunity to be featured on WLOS' "Spotlight Carolina" last month! We are so grateful for the support, as well as the chance to spread the word about who SGH is and what we do. Click here to hear from our Clinical Director, Rachael Cushing-Cook and a Grotto parent about the latest SGH news and Mardi Gras details! 
Mardi Gras 2016: The 6th Annual Mardi Party is just around the corner. Join us on Fat Tuesday, February 9, at Wild Wing Cafe on Long Shoals Road for what will be a fun-filled evening! With the purchase of a ticket, you are guaranteed access to live and silent auctions, delicious cajun style food and drinks, live music, and more! For more information or to purchase tickets online, click here! To buy physical tickets, call us at 828-693-4223 or visit us at 620 Oakland Street, Hendersonville NC. 
Spotlight On: Mary O'Neill
Mary O'Neill is both a dedicated Board Member and volunteer at SGH. Mary lived in Northern Virginia for 30 years and spent a portion of that time overseas on ‘vacations’ provided by the U.S. military. She and her husband moved to Hendersonville three and a half years ago to be closer to their daughter’s family and the beauty of life in the mountains.  Mary met and married her college sweetheart, Kevin, at Penn State and they have been blessed with four lovely daughters.  After being a full time mom for 16 years, she began an educational career at Northern Virginia Community College as Instructor and Administrator of ESL in one of the largest Intensive ESL programs in the country. During this period, she was proud to have created and executed diversity programs in the Northern Virginia area from the elementary school level through the corporate level of international businesses. Mary is a cherished member of the SGH family! 
MC: Tell me about your experience as a volunteer at SGH. How has working with individuals on the spectrum impacted your life?
MO: I first began volunteering at SGH a year and a half ago in the Connect Program.  From the first day in the Connect Program, I saw the relevance of the curriculum for every person, with or without autism! I have learned a lot about myself from the Superflex heroes and bring their super powers to mind, especially when I have Rock Brain!  As I assisted in the classroom, I did a lot of observing since this volunteer experience was my first with children on the autism spectrum. What I learned was that my experience of teaching ESL students with little or no language skills transferred to SGH students who may have difficulty expressing themselves.  This was an enlightening and confirming moment for me and this also can be enlightening and confirming for others who are considering volunteering at SGH.  You don’t need previous experience in a therapeutic educational setting.  A willing and sensitive heart towards children is the only requirement and skill needed.  I’ve met so many of the Connect students in the past year and a half.  Thinking of them, seeing them again in another class, seeing them in the community always makes me smile.  They are so very intelligent, knowledgeable, and spiritual.  They bless me; I know I am entertaining angels!
Sesame Street AutismSesame Street has launched a new initiative, Sesame Street and Autism. Check out their site for tips, tools, and resources for the entire family. 
Nourishing Hope: Food and Nutrition for ADHD, Autism, and Healthy Children: Check out Nourishing Hope for resources concerning nutrition and autism and to learn more about how the two are so closely involved. 
Local Resources
Up on Autism Blog: St. Gerard House shares a blog post every other monday on our website and every month in the newsletter. In our most recent blog, you will find the tips we took away from Sesame Street's initiative. We are so excited to share with you the insight and experiences we are fortunate enough to gain here at SGH every day! Click here to read our latest blog post.
Wings for Autism Airport Rehearsal The Asheville Regional Airport is hosting Wings for Autism for families and individuals facing autism who need some extra help preparing for airport travel. This is such an incredible resource and one we are so excited about! We strongly encourage you to check it out! If you would like to register now, click here.
Ability Shirts is a nonprofit corporation that supports individuals with “unique abilities" by selling awareness products. Ability Shirts is dedicated to donating a portion of their sales to SGH at the end of the year! To contribute and check out their products, visit them at
Volunteer Opportunities
We serve a variety of age groups through our multiple programs. St. Gerard House is a great place to volunteer for learning opportunities.
If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering, please call us at 828-693-4223 x 14  or send us an email:
St. Gerard House • 620 Oakland St. • Hendersonville, NC 28791
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