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St. Gerard House
Home of The Grotto Center
April 2016

Contact Us
St. Gerard House
620 Oakland Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791
Appreciating Autism
"Our minds are as different as our faces: we are all traveling to one destination; --happiness; but few are going by the same road."- Charles Colton
SGH Program News
Feed the Need: The Spring Garden and Culinary Programs are now in session. Spring sessions for both programs will meet March 21-May 22.  
For information, please call Julia Matthews at 828.693.4223 or email

Connect: The Connect Social Skills program's Summer 2016 session will meet June 13-24!  For more information, or to enroll, call us at 828.693.4223 or click here. 
Family Group Night: The next FGN Meeting will be on April 18, 2016. Dinner will be served at 5:30! Childcare is provided.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
Last month, a Feed the Need participant started her dream job at Lila's Garden in Hendersonville. She is thriving! We are so blessed by our participants and the progress they make every day!  
Autism in the News
[NPR 3.27.16] Do I Have Autism? What It's Like to Find Out as An Adult 
[ABC News 3.22.16] Nonverbal Man with Autism and Synesthesia Set to Host First Solo Art Exhibit 
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 or send us an email:
St. Gerard House News!

First Words of Hope Luncheon: Our sixth annual luncheon will take place on April 20, 2016 at Blue Ridge Community College. If you are interested in participating or attending this event, please contact Bertha Medina by April 8th at 693-4223. 
                                              Autism Awareness Day: 
SGH is proud to participate in this year's Light It Up Blue campaign. Throughout April, SGH will honor the families and individuals facing autism in our community and around the world. We encourage you 
all to celebrate autism with us this month! 
Horizon Heating & Air Funding: SGH was awarded $1,000 by Horizon Heating & Air. We are so appreciative of their incredible generosity and dedication to our community! We are very grateful for their support!! Read more here
Grotto Field Trip: We had a wonderful time at local non-profit children's museum, Hands On! Hands On provides children and families with “hands on” educational experiences that stimulate the imagination and motivate learning in a fun, safe environment. Click here to see more pictures! 
Summer Program:
We are now enrolling typically developing students for our Summer program! It's designed for ages 3 - 6 and runs June 13 - August 5. The cost is $800. For more information, please call Cecilia Tovar - 693-4223.

  Spotlight On: Rachael Cushing-Cook
Rachael was raised in New England, primarily living in CT and NH before transferring colleges in 1998 to be closer to family. Since graduating, she has remained in North Carolina. Rachael is married to her best friend, David Cook, whom she has known for over 15 years. Together, they have four beautiful children; Gavin, Alexa, Lucas, and Aidan. As SGH's Clinical Director, Rachael spends her days conducting evaluations and writing reports, supervising and collaborating with staff, preparing ongoing trainings for staff members, consulting with parents and professionals, and meeting with members in our community to discuss potential partnerships for creating awareness and inclusion for individuals with autism. Rachael is a wonderful leader and advocate and proud member of the SGH family! 
MC: Over the course of your many years at SGH, what have you grown to love the most about your job?
RCC:  I have always loved the interactions with children, parents and staff, all for different reasons.  It is incredibly satisfying to watch the children we serve blossom in front of our eyes and demonstrate the ability to express to us who they are and what they want to be. I love the opportunity to serve the families and help them go through the process of accepting and serving their children. Having a sister with autism, I truly empathize, understand and embrace this unique family process. Lastly, I am forever appreciative and in awe of the incredible clinical team we employ, who work tirelessly with the individuals we serve.  The passion and love they have for these individuals fuels my passion to continue with this mission.
MCWhat do you think makes SGH such a special place for both staff and the families we serve?
RCC: SGH stands out from the rest because we hold our mission to serve the under-served, by providing best possible practices, very seriously and without compromise. We provide intense training for staff members and hand pick employees based upon their desire to do this work for the right reasons. Those reasons are to serve each family as a whole unit, to step in and train especially when things are difficult, and to persevere when others have given up.
MC: What has working with individuals on the spectrum taught you about the wider world?
RCC: Working with people with ASD has completely changed my outlook on the world and humanity.  Having a sister with autism changed my lifelong goals and priorities.  The beauty of the autism community is that no two individuals are the same, just like you and me. They are truly individuals and have desires, likes, and endless potentials that need to be fostered and respected.  These people deserve the same rights and opportunities provided to everyone else.  What I have learned though is that many of them need people like us to advocate for them and ultimately teach them to advocate for themselves, which is true success. People with autism have a lot to teach the rest of us, such as, the importance of perspective, perseverance, and honesty.  They do so, for me, on a daily basis. 
Local Resources
Family Support Network Summer Camp Guide: Summer vacation often poses a challenge for parents of children with special needs. You can find programs that will provide an engaging and enriching environment for your child with activities your child would benefit from! Click on the guide for more information about programs in the area.
Autism Across the Spectrums of Age and Ability: Save the date for MAHEC's conference on June 28-29. David Pitonyak will be featured as the 2016 Keynote Speaker. They will cover a a variety of specialized tracks designed for Intensive In-Home Providers, Licensed Mental Health Practitioners, Teachers, Early Intervention Specialists, and Parents & Families.
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 tips for "Self Care" from Licensed Counselor, Kathi Bivens. Click to read our latest blog post!
ABYSA TOPSoccer: Check out this amazing community-based soccer program for athletes with special needs! For more information, or to enroll your child, click here
St. Gerard House • 620 Oakland St. • Hendersonville, NC 28791
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