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August 2016
Spotlight On:  Feed The Need Guest Chef 
Karen Corbie knows her way around a kitchen. In fact, she's worked in restaurants all over the world. Now, she is bringing her extensive culinary experience back to her hometown in Hendersonville. We were lucky enough to cross paths with her outside of our new facility at 705 Oakland.
"Karen wanted to know who owned the building, and how it was being used," says Julia Matthews, Feed the Need program coordinator. "I told her about St. Gerard House, the work of The Grotto Therapeutic Center, and finally about our new kitchen." 

The kitchen, where culinary skills and socialization are shared with young adults with autism, already held a special place in her heart. In fact, it's the same kitchen where her early love of cooking first bloomed.
"It was my home for fifteen years," says, Corbie. "The house was walking distance from school, and most mornings my mother would have 10-12 high school students gathered in that kitchen as she cooked breakfast. We have a big southern family, so food has always been a central part of our relationships."
These traditions of food and community are given new life through the Feed the Need culinary program. Each week, ten participants work with guest chefs to prepare a meal. Afterward, a table is set and the group sits together to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This opportunity to plan, organize and manage time as part of a team is vital for individuals with autism, who sometimes find it difficult to socialize with others.
“Something magical happens when you sit down to share a meal,” explains Matthews. “We’ve seen even the most reserved participants begin to laugh and talk as they share in the satisfaction of eating something they prepared.”
Karen had the chance to witness that magic for herself recently, as she taught students to make chicken risotto (pictured above). Of her experience, she says, "I'm so proud of what St. Gerard House is doing. My grandson has high functioning autism, and seeing my childhood home serve that mission so beautifully makes me feel as though it really has come full circle." 
We are so grateful for volunteers like Karen who offer their unique skills to those we serve. To see more mouthwatering photos of the meals our culinary participants prepare each week, visit our Facebook page.
Welcome, New Staff
We're expanding in big ways! In addition to our growing facilities, program offerings, and scholarship opportunities, we're adding a few new smiling faces to the team. 
Tammy Gilstrap, Operations Manager
Tammy is a native of Weaverville NC and graduated from North Buncombe High School. She is the mother of four wonderful children. Tammy has more than 29 years of experience in a varied background of Telecommunications, Dentistry and Therapy Practice Operations and Management. This background provides her with the foundation to serve in her role at SGH, where she is responsible for software and system administration, provider credentialing and billing. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve the children and families of this community, and to work with a wonderful group of people.

Carly Fleming, Development and Communications Associate

Carly graduated in 2011 from Appalachian State University with a degree in Public Relations and an emphasis on Nonprofits. During her time in Boone, she co-founded the University’s Autism Speaks U Chapter and developed a love for the mountains that she’s never been able to shake. After several years working with organizations in both fundraising and communications capacities, she returned to school and earned a Master’s degree in Communication from N.C. State University. Upon graduating Carly sought to make her way back to Western North Carolina, and is happy to have found a home in Hendersonville.
Eliza Anderson, Behavior Technician
Eliza graduated from a small Quaker school called Earlham College with a Bachelor's in Psychology. After graduating she spent a year interning for a non-profit in Louisville and practicing her love of art. Next, she began working in a partner teaching program with 6th grade language arts students. It was there she really developed her passion for working with children. While visiting North Carolina to look for teaching opportunities in elementary schools, she happened to tour St. Gerard House and instantly fell in love. Two months later she packed up her car and started this amazing new opportunity!

Miriam Valdez, Receptionist
Miriam graduated from East Henderson High School and is an active member of Immaculate Conception Church. In her free time, she enjoys activities like Zumba, hiking and spending time with her family. Miriam is new to the non-profit world and is excited to make a difference.

Ashley Smith, Program Coordinator
Ashley is very excited to be back on the SGH team! She graduated from Kent State University with a B.A. in Psychology and completed her M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati. She found her passion for working with individuals on the autism spectrum in high school when she baby sat for a neighbor with autism and worked in group homes. She has worked in the field of ABA for 10 years in home, school, and center settings. Ashley has lived in Asheville since 2013, and is so happy to call this beautiful area home.

Tamara Olmedo, Behavior Technician

Tamara is a native of New York. She moved to North Carolina in 2010 after completing her Master's in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Since moving, Tamara has worked with children in a variety of different ways including nutrition, home based services, and parent coaching. While researching information about Autism resources for a client, Tamara learned about the Grotto and ABA. During her free time, she can be found hanging out with her son and planning their next adventure. She is super excited to be a part of the Grotto and get to work one on one with so many new faces!
Patrick Long

We've lost someone very special to our St. Gerard House family. Patrick Long, brother of Executive Director Caroline Long, passed away July 18 from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Visit the Shreveport Times for his full obituary. 
Patrick was a champion for our mission, and had an infectious passion for life. He will be greatly missed. 
News and Resources
Back to School:  Four Tips for Reducing Stress

The Benefits of Recruiting Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Pokemon Go a Game Changer for Child with Autism

How to Help Children with Special Needs Avoid Being Bullied or Becoming Bullies
Upcoming Programs
Enrollment is open for Fall 2016 sessions!
Garden: MWF 9/7 - 11/11
Culinary: T TH 9/6 - 11/10
For information or to register, please call Program Coordinator Julia Matthews at 828.693.4223 or email
Don't miss our last
summer session!
August 8 - August 19
For more information or to register, call Sharon Stokes at 828.693.4223 or email
The next meeting will take place August 22! 
Rachael Cushing Cook, St. Gerard House Clinical Director, will discuss the role of sibling support for those with autistic family members. 
Dinner will be served at 5:30 and childcare will be provided! For more details, call us at 828-693-4223. Click here to register now! 
For a complete list of programs and services, visit our website.
Are you interested in supporting our work to provide joy and meaningful outcomes to families facing autism?
Click here to make a donation!
Read about Expanding Hope -- our first capital campaign. We're in the midst of transformative growth that will allow us to expand facilities, programs, and scholarships, and we need your help to reach our goal!
For more on naming opportunities and charitable giving, contact:
Bertha Medina
Director of Development
828-693-4223 ext. 20

St. Gerard House is a great place to volunteer for joyful experiences and learning opportunities. We serve a variety of age groups through multiple programs.

If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 828-693-4223 or send us an email:
Contact Us
St. Gerard House
620 Oakland Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791

St. Gerard House  •  620 Oakland St.  •  Hendersonville, NC 28791

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