Jessica McCullum, daughter of long-time Clark Realty agent Derinda Thatcher, is also the newest member of Derinda’s Team Sold Hawaii. Jessica, who recently moved back to Kailua Kona from Nevada with her husband and their two children, quickly realized after their arrival that the family was missing the network they relied on in their previous community to help them navigate some of the challenges faced by their four-year-old daughter, Ava, who has autism.
An activist and problem solver by nature, Jessica decided to “be the change she wished to see in the world” and got busy organizing the Autism Moms of Kona group with a mission to raise awareness about autism locally and to provide opportunities for interaction between families with children on the autism spectrum.
The second support group meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18th, and Jessica is working to rally businesses behind her cause to create autism-friendly accommodations in public spaces where children socialize.
On Sunday, July 29th, Autism Moms of Kona is hosting its 1st Annual Sensory Festival at the Kona Palisades Rec Center. This free event opens to the public at 11:00 am.
Activities at the event include a silent auction and with items from sponsors ranging from boat trips to salons and restaurants. All proceeds will go toward creating respite packages for families with special needs. The idea behind a respite package, Jessica says, is that when a child has special needs, like autism, the entire family naturally will have special needs. Respite packages include services ranging from housecleaning services to special needs swimming lessons to horse therapy sessions, and much more. The goal is to help families learn about the many outlets that are available in the community to make their lives just a little bit easier. Sponsors will be rewarded when families decide to continue using such services that were provided to them initially for free by Autism Moms of Kona.
Please contact Jessica for support group information, to volunteer, donate, or to learn how your business can become sensory friendly. Her email address for Autism Moms of Kona-related inquiries is Jessica.McCullum@Outlook.com. You can also call her at 808-937-9008 or join the Autism Moms of Kona group on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/autismmomsofkona.
To provide financial support for the group or make a donation to offset the startup costs for Autism Moms of Kona, visit the Autism Moms of Kona FundRazr page.