What a year 2012 has been! At this time of reflection, all I need to do is follow our photos on Facebook to track all of the tremendous accomplishments Roses for Autism has made this year. Thanks to so many supporters, generous donors, hundreds of volunteers, and of course, our wonderful staff, we have made great strides inside and outside the premises. A serious commitment from so many in this – our third year of business – has made 2012 truly outstanding, and it’s been an honor to jump in midway through the year as Executive Director to witness all our 2012 goals fall into place by year’s end.
Here’s a recap of the highlights:
|In April, we celebrated our expanded retail shop with a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony that included Governor Malloy, State Representative Pat Widlitz, and many community supporters.|
|As soon as you make the turn off of Route 1 at our sign, you will now experience a smooth ride on a newly-paved driveway all the way up to our expanded parking lot.|
|Inside, you’ll be welcomed into our newly-built (& decorated!) retail area to choose the most fragrant, beautiful roses which are still grown by fourth-generation rose grower Tom Pinchbeck, whose family has been growing roses since 1929.|
|If you step further in, through our packing room and into our 100,000 square foot historic greenhouse – one of the largest glass and steel greenhouses in the country – you’ll find new “life” growing from the 26,000 new rose bushes that were planted his past summer by our hard-working volunteers and staff. To insure the best quality roses grown in America, they are cared for and “pinched” year-round – and now warmed by a new heat curtain that was installed this year and has cut down on our heating expenses substantially.|
|Back at our new retail shop, instead of stepping through the packing room you can instead turn right into our new Career Training Room. Here our program continues to evolve to meet the needs of individuals with autism to learn the necessary soft skills and expectations of the workplace. This year we welcomed Dr. Linda Rammler as our Director of the Career Training Program, Judy Sembler (above), as our Vocational Support Teacher, and Ryan Smith as our Employment Specialist. Our team works with individuals on transferrable skills and assists them in finding a suitable job in their respective communities, working closely with employers on the benefits of hiring a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). All trainees in our program work in an integrated workplace at Roses for Autism with the goal of transitioning successfully into community employment.|
They say “it takes a village to raise a child” and that’s definitely true at Roses for Autism. We simply would not exist without the support of our community. If you have supported us because you or a family member has been touched by autism, or have had the unique experience of watching a “Pinchbeck” rose blossom in your home, or because you believe in supporting your local small business, I can’t thank you enough! All proceeds are reinvested into our Career Training Program so we can assist more people in achieving their dream of meaningful employment and living a more independent and enriching life. We strive for excellence in all that we do – and we couldn’t do any of this without you!
As I look forward to the New Year and the many wonderful surprises it holds for all of us at Roses for Autism, I welcome everyone to stop in and visit us even if it’s just to say “Hi.” We love to meet new people and re-connect with our loyal customers who are looking to freshen up their homes with their favorite variety of roses, lilies, or gerberas. We still carry locally-grown rose varieties that can’t be found anywhere else – so please, stop in and smell the roses at Roses for Autism! And if you are not local, then feel free to visit us online at our new website, RosesForAutism.com (another 2012 accomplishment!), where you can learn more about us, drop us a note, and of course, order our flowers for delivery straight to your door.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a safe, happy, healthy New Year!