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What do a surfboard and an iPad have in common?

What do a surfboard and an iPad have in common?

They both have the ability to transform the life of an Autistic Child!I’m asking for your help bringing the two together, iPads and surfboards, for these incredible kids.A friend of mine (and some of yours), Jonathan Harper, is an Occupational Therapist who works with special needs children, with an emphasis on the Autism Spectrum. I have watched Jon interacting with these kids in and near the water on a regular basis and the work he does is quite extraordinary. It's amazing how they respond in this environment. Jon is also the local chair for the organization Surfers for Autism (SFA). This non-profit group travels the southeastern coast of the US providing a surf /beach day for Autistic and other special needs kids at various beaches. SFA is having their 2nd annual Beach Festival here at Tybee Island later this summer (September 8th, 2012). Hundreds of volunteers and sponsors provide surfboards and skilled supervision to teach the kids to surf. Beach games/activities, music and food are part of the agenda. The day is designed to give the kids a chance to interact without judgment and also give their parents and families a much needed break from the continuous strain that a disability can have on their daily lives. Being at the beach, in the water, surfing, truly transforms these kids for a day in their lives, once a year.Here’s the other thing we know with certainty; it’s amazing how well these same children interact with technological devices, the iPad specifically, with all the apps that are designed to help develop the learning skills of special needs kids. Children who have been unable to communicate the BRILLIANCE often locked in their minds, can suddenly speak with their parents when provided with the right tools and motivation. It's not just an expensive toy for them. It is a means of controlling the flow of information they receive at a manageable level, allowing them to process and respond when they otherwise cannot. Jon frequently uses his iPhone to capture a child’s attention at the beginning of a session and again at the end as a reward for their cooperation. It's been a very effective tool for him!How amazing would it be to put the two of these resources together in the same place and time? How amazing would it be to maximize the opportunity and FUN TIME for these kids at our local Surfers for Autism event here at Tybee? How cool will it be to give them a day they would rarely otherwise experience? What if iPads loaded with learning apps were donated that could be given to our kids at the September Surfers for Autism Beach Festival? So here’s my Request: An iPad is a sizable contribution for a single person. However, if enough of us combined our resources it would be easily achievable. If just 36 of my Facebook friends would be willing to donate $50.00 each, that would allow us to purchase a couple of iPads. A few additional $50 contributions would enable us to wrap it in a protective cover and provide an iTunes gift card for apps that would likely be very appreciated by the end user. Enough larger contributions would allow us to….well, you get the idea. If we should exceed the “Goal”, any excess funds will be released to Surfers For Autism for their general use in continuing their mission (unless your generous contributions are enough for A LOT OF ADDITIONAL iPads :)SFA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Please consult with your tax adviser or the IRS. I can provide you with a letter of receipt from SFA upon request.Follow Abigail through her “day at the beach” and watch her magic happen by clicking on the video link posted above.More videos of previous events are on the SFA website. www.surfersforautism.orgHere is the web address to the SFA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/surfersforautism.“like” it if you’re interested in receiving updates on upcoming events along the Southeastern coast.I'm reaching out to my FB friends because I’m confident that your like hearts and minds will come together for this VERY worthwhile cause. I also know that you have networks of friends that, with the click of a mouse on the share button, would be willing to help us achieve our goal. I have set up a paypal account to make it easy to contribute. I promise you, any amount you choose to give will be put to good use! Click the "Give" button to add your contribution.My deadline to purchase the iPads for the September event is August 1st. I’ll keep you updated on our progress between now and then. Let me hear from you soon!Very Sincerely,Chris Thompson

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