Kindness Club at SEEDs for Autism

As part of our exciting online programming, SEEDs for Autism created a series of virtual groups, workshops and clubs where adults on the autism spectrum can connect with their peers through shared interests and opportunities. In the Kindness Club, SEEDs participants come together and find ways to cultivate kindness in our community! Last month the Kindness Club worked with Ashleigh at the Arizona Humane Society to make toys for the shelter cats!

SYDNEY K.
After we finished making the toys, Ashleigh gave us a zoom tour of the Humane Society and showed us all the animals they have as well as the rooms of what they do there.
The type of animals they take are dogs, cats, guinea pigs, ferrets and some other animals. They bring in animals when their family can no longer take care of their pets, if they are abused, brought in by law enforcement, sick and injured, emergencies etc. For the animals they do take in they spay and neuter them, give them food and shelter and take care of their injuries. After the animal is healthy they go to foster homes or get ready to be placed for adoption. Before they get adopted they need to be able to eat and drink on their own. Also they make sure to place them in a safe home and give them a second chance at life with a new family.
The Humane Society is always looking for volunteers. They are a non profit organization and always looking for donations, as well as other things that they have on their website.

To learn more about the Arizona Humane Society and find out how you can help,
please visit their website
azhumanesociety.org

This article was featured in an issue of the SEEDs for Autism Newsletter. If you would like to subscribe and hear more stories from SEEDs participants, please visit our websiteThank you!

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An Act of Kindness by Anna P

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart


At SEEDs for Autism, we encourage our participants to share their stories. Simple moments we experience can change the way we view the world and help us understand our purpose in life. Here, Anna shares an experience she had at work while helping a customer. It is an inspiration to all of us, and a story worth sharing.

When a person works at a job, like McDonalds or as an accountant at a bank they may think they’re not really helping people in a major way but this is false. One example I have that shows that any job can make a difference happened at Fry’s. I am a courtesy clerk and one of my coworkers told me to help a lady. The lady was blind and had a cane. Because she was blind she couldn’t see where to go to get certain items she needed.

How I helped her was by directing her to go straight, turn backwards or to the side. I was a bit scared helping her though because maybe she wouldn’t know how to maneuver around the store with the directions I gave her. However she did know and I learned more about her as we had a conversation. Where she lived the water was out and she had to ask a neighbor for help. This made me want to help her more because no water in Arizona can lead to health problems and death so I wanted to make sure to give her water. This showed me just how important my job could be.

She used Paratransit and I ran/jogged to make sure the Paratransit was there. I was very focused on making sure she got to the Paratransit because in a way I made a friend when talking and helping her. And friends to me are people who help other people they know. Everything I ever did at Fry’s was worth it because going there on the days scheduled helped me be familiar with my coworkers and the workplace. That helped me find her the items she needed. Best part is the lady gave me a hug making me know that she appreciated me.

Please anyone working at a career they don’t think makes a difference, remember it can. And it’s worth waiting for even at a job you hate.

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This article was featured in an issue of the SEEDs for Autism Newsletter. If you would like to subscribe and hear more stories from SEEDs participants, please visit our websiteThank you!

Mister Rogers and Me

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When I was a small boy, I used to watch the old Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood series on PBS Kids because my Dad was working at a PBS station. When he first met the actor who played Mr. McFeeley, Mr. Newell invited my family to meet Mr. Rogers himself at his studio.

When we got to the office where Fred Rogers worked, I was so excited that I wanted to rush up and hug him, but I kind of tackled him into his sofa. During our visit, he told my Mom that she was very special to have a son like me and that she should be proud. Then we took our picture with Mister Rogers. That was a time when he was getting frail and then later on he passed away.

Since then, we became good friends with Mr. Newell and we’ve been visiting with him at times. I still respect Mister Rogers’ legacy and hope to keep up the good work in the future. Do you enjoy Mister Rogers’ special messages of kindness?

by Chris M.

Jeff’s Odd Destinations: Valley of the Moon

Valley of the Moon

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image from yelp.org

First order of business, I have an important announcement to make. After much thought I have decided that “Jeff’s Eccentric People, Places and Things,” has to awkward a title. While I am pleased with how my work is coming out I decided to go with a different name. While “Eccentric Person of the Month,”  and “Unusual Place of the Month,” my old titles from the Seeds’ Newsletter have been suggested  I decided on “Jeff’s Odd Destinations” and “Jeff’s Gallery”

Now for a very special trip today, I take you on a very mysterious journey to a land of wonder and imagination. To Tucson Arizona’s mystic and mysterious Valley of the Moon. For over eighty years this strange land has enchanted children of all ages. Its story begins with the coming of the Mountain Gnome, George Phar Legler. Born in Evansville, Indiana somewhere between 1884 and 1887, George was a former post office clerk who was forced into an early retirement due to an automobile accident. He was also a spiritualist and believer in fairies. He moved to Arizona around 1917 and bought the 2.25 acres that soon became his life’s work. Nearby lived a clergyman whose teenage daughter was dying of tuberculosis. George created a little mountain scene with a waterfall and a bathtub lake just outside her window. She could leave her room and explore the serene landscape with her imagination. When she died George comforted her mother by telling her she had moved to the spirit world where she would live forever now. He found his life calling and expanded on the small landscape and started building the Valley in 1923.

 

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image from tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com

 

With the help of friends, family and locals George Legler constructed his “secret” fairyland and wild animal sanctuary, opening up officially in 1926 and full of homemade rock decorations, buildings and sculptures of wonder opening to the public . George lived on the property giving tours, telling stories and performing magic tricks as the Mountain Gnome. During the Valley’s original run it did not allow boys in-between the ages of 12 to 21 as visitors in because George thought that they would upset the fairies for not believing or being imaginative for the “magic” to work. The Valley was open until 1963. George would live by himself in his now abandoned fairyland until 1971, when he got an unexpected surprise visit from a group of High Schoolers. While the park never officially closed, visitors were coming less and less. The Valley was falling into disrepair due to vandals and George’s health was failing due to his age.

 

The boys apparently thought they all shared the same dream of a friendly gnome. Apparently they decided it was no dream and went on a quest to find an almost forgotten part of their childhood, climbed over the fence and rediscovered the Valley. While George at first thought they were vandals, the Mountain Gnome gave them an over two hour tour and told them that they were welcome back any time. The boys later formed the Valley of the Moon Restoration Association (VOMRA) now called the George Phar Legler Society (GPLS). The Valley of the Moon was listed on the Arizona Historic Places Register in 1975 and George was awarded the Tucson Outstanding Citizen Award a year before he died in 1982 around age 95. It is also an official National register of Historic Places under Pima County in 2011 and a Historic Landmark for the city as of 2016. The Valley is now owned mainly by the GPLS and partly by the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

image from http://tucsonsbirthday.blogspot.com

Now, I have never been to the Valley of the Moon (yet) so I can only judge from what I have read and studied but the park contains a large number of statues and buildings made from scraps of old toys, and junk George found and put together. This includes the Wizard’s Tower, a bridge, a cave, a homemade pond and an artificial flower garden. In 2008 a number of sculptures were added from closed down mini golf course named Magic Carpet Golf now a car dealership. A house that a friend of George Legler helped build in the Valley became a storage room for props and costumes stood on the site but burned down not too long ago. Today the park is kept by members of the GPLS and volunteers. I don’t know if it is still an animal sanctum however.

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image from flicker.com

 

The Valley of the Moon is open on the first Saturday of every month for free and paid for visits are on special occasions and holidays. As well, exploring the Fairyland of the Desert shows are performed by members of the GPLS, many with the audience participating. You can find more information about the Valley of the Moon, George Legler, and helping to keep the wonder and magic alive at the website www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com. The Valley is at 2544 E. Allen Rd. Tucson AZ and can be contacted at 520-323-1331 and valleymoon1@yahoo.com.