What Does It Take To Be a Good Friend?

“Friends are the sunshine of life.” – John Hay

Friendships enrich our lives, make us happy and provide us with a sense of purpose and belonging. At SEEDs for Autism we understand that making friends can be especially difficult for those on the autism spectrum. Our multifaceted program helps participants develop important social skills which empower them to interact with their peers, connect with others and build friendships. We asked our participants to share their thoughts on what it takes to be a good friend.

BRIANNA
A good friend is friendly, kind, helpful, someone you can talk to, spend some time with, and makes you laugh!

NATHAN B.
It takes a lot to be a good friend. For starters you need to be kind and friendly. You also need to be selfless and also need to be loyal as well. The final thing you need to be a good friend is to be funny and make them happy. That is what it takes to be a good friend.

CHRIS M.
I believe that a good friend will always be there to support you in achieving your goals, whether it’s a family member or a best friend. And sometimes you will have to be a good friend in order to support other people you know. A bad friend, however, would offer bad advice or lie to people, only to make things worse. Overall, being a good friend to others would depend on you. If you know what’s right or wrong, just do it.

MICHAEL B.
What makes a good friend? It is a question that passes through our minds at multiple times throughout our journey in life. This question guides and shapes our interactions, relationships and the future of every person we meet on planet earth. As a result, I believe the three qualities that make up a good friend are compassion, empathy and a good understanding of interpersonal relationships. Overall, these three traits when displayed correctly in the appropriate manner convey to others that they have the skills needed to be not just be a good friend, but an outstanding friend to rely on at any given time.

DANIEL N.
Getting to know the other person better is very important for friendships to form and sometimes they take years. Listening to the other party is fuel to form friendships.Talk about what the other party is interested in and topics that are appropriate for the conversation like “What do you like to do for fun?” Listen when the other party is talking to you and talk when it is your turn. In conclusion, friendships are very fragile and they need to be maintained.

JUSTIN M.
How to be a good friend: 1) Introduce yourself. 2) Tell funny jokes. 3) Make them happy. 4) Help them with a puzzle. 5) Shake hands.

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The Importance of Customer Service

“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.”
-Ken Blanchard


At SEEDs for Autism, one of the most unique aspects of our program is providing real life opportunities for participants to turn the skills they learn into ACTION! During our annual Art Jam, SEEDs participants will be conducting tours, assisting customers and providing instruction to the community through a series of exciting workshops. We asked some of our participants to share their thoughts on how they provide excellent customer service.

CHRIS M.
During my time working at SEEDS for Autism, I started learning to check out items for customers who buy them. They were purchasing each item and I helped with scanning the item to see how much it costs, letting the customer know how much the item costs and then I took the payment using a square reader.

All that time, I was acting in a positive and professional mood, asking the customer questions about the payment, doing the job with a smile and asking for assistance when I needed help.

I felt like I did a nice job on my first time as a cashier at SEEDS and think I can get a paid job at a store one day thanks to what I’ve learned at SEEDS For Autism.
SONJA
Customer Service is important because it shows you care about the customer and want them to come back to buy more of your product. A good example of customer service is when I did an event over the weekend with SEEDs. I said hello to customers and told them about our products and what we do to help the autism community.  

JESSICA
I deal with customers on a daily basis, and how to provide a good customer experience is to greet them with a smile and say have a good day.

NATHAN B.
Customer service is important because it lets customers know that they matter and that purchasing our stuff is appreciated. A good example of giving good customer service is by greeting people and asking if they need help with anything. Another example would be to help them out with whatever their needs are. That is why customer service is important.

JAKE P.
5 Ways to Give Good Customer Service:
1 Look at the customer.
2 Smile.
3 Be friendly.
4 Be Helpful.
5 Be flexible.

Personal Stories: Who Do You Admire?

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
-William Arthur Ward


The people we admire inspire us to believe in ourselves, to reach further and strive to be our best. We asked SEEDs participants to write about the people they look up to and identify the qualities they have in common.

SYDNEY
The person I admire is Lady Godiva because she didn’t hesitate to challenge unfair taxes in the eleventh century and she did it by riding naked on a horse. We both like to challenge ourselves to be courageous and to not take no for an answer.

CAMILLE
I admire my friends Jesse and Nathan, because they have the same interests as me and play video games. They are so kind and friendly, and that’s how I am too.

JAKE M.
One of my favorite athletes of all time is Roger Federer. He is the most successful male tennis player of all time. His character is exemplary on and off the court. He is a hard worker and leaves everything on the court regardless of the final result. He also has his own charity called The Roger Federer Foundation.

I can relate to Roger in two ways. The first being, we both pride ourselves on giving back to the community. Like Federer, I too put 100% effort in everything I do. Athletes like Roger Federer don’t come around very often.

CHRISTIAN
I admire my grandfather John Caulfield because he was brave and I am also brave.

What Have You Done At Seeds That Makes You Feel Proud?

We were created for meaningful work, and one of life’s greatest pleasures is the satisfaction of a job well done.
-John C. Maxwell

At SEEDs for Autism, we create many opportunities for our participants to experience a sense of accomplishment, build self-esteem and achieve a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done. We asked our participants to share their thoughts on the things they’ve done at SEEDs that make them feel proud. 

JUSTIN M.
I made some earrings in jewelry at SEEDs that made me feel proud. It was very easy to do.

CONNOR
I have done and made so many things at Seeds, but to pick what makes me most proud is difficult. The things I make that I’m most proud of are stuff I make in the Wood Department. I love turning the wood, and Ed (instructor) says I’m very good at it.

DERRICK
In the Metal department I made metal ostriches with Lenny’s (instructor) help. It made me feel good because it took a good amount of time and effort finish the ostriches.  It made me feel proud enough to finish them.

CHRIS
What I’ve been doing at SEEDS was that I improved a lot on my abilities to adapt to different situations in each class. Like when someone in my class is having a bad moment, I would ask staff if I could take a break to avoid getting involved. Or when I helped my peers by showing them what I do in one of my classes. I have become patient with everybody at SEEDS and helped out at the front desk. I have also learned how to manage my anger by taking breaks. Overall, SEEDS helped me improve on my behavior and this makes me proud.

KYLE D.
Spa is my favorite department at Seeds. I’m good at making soap. It makes me feel proud.

JARED
Social Skills is my favorite department at Seeds. I’m good at listening. I’m good at communicating. It makes me feel proud.

KERI
Something I did at Seeds that made me feel proud was that I made a nice ceramic cactus soap dish and painted it well. It was nice and I felt good about it.

Struggling With Something New: What did you do to improve?

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

When met with new experiences, it is often a struggle to overcome obstacles and improve – but this is how we GROW! At SEEDs for Autism we encourage and empower our participants to face challenges and develop the inner strength to persist and keep trying. We asked some of our participants to write about a time when they struggled with something new – and what they did to improve. 

DANIEL N.
There was a time when I struggled with weight training so I worked hard to gain physical strength. I trained with lighter weights then as I got stronger I dialed up the resistance to build muscle in the back which are the most critical muscles for bench press. I won my weight division in both bench and dead lift.

NATHAN B
There was a time where I struggled at Fry’s which is where I work. When I first got hired at Fry’s I was very nervous and I had no I idea what to do really. I struggled in the beginning. I would bag the wrong things together, I would not do a very good job on carts by only doing a few at a time, and one time I accidentally hit a customers a car with one of the shopping carts. Let’s just say my early times at Fry’s were a struggle. But I didn’t give up and over time I got better and better at Fry’s to eventually thriving at Fry’s. That is how I struggled with something new and overcame that obstacle.

MICHAEL S
I struggled with math in High School. To improve I slowed down my answers. I worked out the problem first. Then I got better at math.

ISAIAH
I struggle sometimes when I work on something hard like moving heavy objects. Now when I lift heavy boxes or heavy packages I prove to be mature because I don’t use bad language and yelling and screaming.

Trying New Things

Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.
– Bethany Hamilton

At SEEDs for Autism we empower our participants to step outside of their comfort zones and GROW! Whether it’s learning a new skill, meeting new people or engaging in new experiences – trying new things takes courage. We asked our participants to share their experiences about a time when they did something they were afraid to try and how they felt afterwards. 

JESSICA
The time I went on the Terror Tower ride at California Adventures. I hate falling rides and they scare me so bad and it was also a scary ride as well. But my parents convinced me and I did. Falling was so scary but I did it. Then I went again and now I love it. So my lesson to the world is try something once and if you don’t like it you don’t have to do it again. But if you do, do it.

SONJA
The first time I rode the bus I was not looking forward to it. I wanted to stay home in bed and not go anywhere. Then my dad came with me and after we stepped off the bus I felt like I could breathe again and since then I’ve been taking the bus to my dad’s work.

ERIK
At least 25 years ago, my parents persuaded me to attempt to ride a bicycle for the first time. Naturally, I was nervous and very reluctant to try. I did not get very far on my first attempt. I fell down and got scraped quite a bit. I still get some nasty bruises even today. Over the years, I got better and better at riding my own bike.

MICHAEL S.
I was afraid to take an airplane to Los Angeles. But I did it. It wasn’t that bad because there were two girls on the plane. I’m not afraid of airplanes anymore.

DUSTIN
I was afraid to come to SEEDs but now I am happy to be here.

DANIEL N.
I was afraid to forge metal at SEEDs but I did it anyway and I felt the emotion of pride.

Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation

Last month, our Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation workshop provided a wonderful opportunity for adults on the autism spectrum to express themselves creatively, explore their talents and practice social skills together. Sharing this popular area of interest with others created a positive, encouraging environment where participants could engage with their peers, build friendships and GROW! We asked some of the attendees to share their experiences with us. 

BRANDON (Assistant Media Lab Instructor, former SEEDs participant)
Instructing at a community event does raise the bar when you are learning to be a teacher. Given that I was teaching stop motion animation at our Comics & Cartoons Workshop, it was quite a surprise to see participants take part in the class. Seeing seventeen guests coming to the event and feeling excited about animating sure was a challenge as most were not familiar with the medium.

It was an honor having Scott Pfister (Media Lab Instructor) aboard and a big help with Jake and Ethan.  In my experience with the pair, Ethan is quite a tech wizard and Jake has the potential to become a director. Our crew was wonderful given that we were sparking creative fires for the visitors of our workshop.  That itself was a success, and that the individuals that joined us had a hand at making a short video with the figures that were used for the set portion. The intent was that they were to have fun and learn something new, itself being quite an accomplishment. Overall, the event was successful and I hope to do more teaching on the medium.

JAKE M. (Workshop Co-Facilitator and SEEDs participant)
On Saturday February 16th I co-led the Stop-Motion Animation Workshop event at Seeds for Autism. I taught the participants how to build a set for stop motion-animation. Other instructors included Brandon, Ethan, and the Seeds Video Lab Instructor Scott. In addition to set building, participants got hands on experience with handling lego characters and moving them through a sequence in order to create a movie. Students also got to see a demonstration of the editing process. Being a leader felt good because I got to show people an interesting movie making skill which is also an art form.

CHRIS M.
I went to the Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation Workshop on Saturday, the 19th of February. In the Comics section, I helped show my group how to tell a story in comic strip form. Then we made our own comic strips. I recreated a scene from the new HellBoy movie that is coming soon. Next, in the Cartoons section, we did paintings of pop art sound effects. My painting was a lightning bolt with the words “Thunder Strike”.

And finally, in the Stop-Motion section, we learned how to make animations using toys and puppets. I was helping Brandon the instructor with doing an animated short with LEGOs while everyone else was learning from the videos. The workshop overall was pretty neat and I look forward to what they’ll come up with in the next workshop.

JEFF
I was at the Comics workshop. I participated in all three events: comic strips, pop art and stop motion animation. I especially enjoyed the beautifully done “Mer-Mom” short shown as an example. All together I’d say this was a pretty educating experience. I can’t say what I learned in words but doing it helped me, let’s say, flow with it.

 

 

JOEL
I went to the Comics, Cartoons and Animation workshop. I drew backgrounds and made stories with cartoon characters. I made a painting that said POW! I made LEGO animation. I had fun.

SONJA
Last month I attended a Seeds for Autism workshop that was about the art of making comics, cartoons and stop motion. I started with how to create a comic strip and how to set up a scene adding in the characters you want to use and how to make a smooth transition from panel to panel. The next class was a painting class. We were painting the sound effects that writers in comics used to emphasize the weight of the situation to get the reader more attached to the characters they love. Finally there was the stop motion class where I learned how to manipulate the model to get the exact shot you want and how it takes patience, time and effort to make your stop motion film the way the creator intended it to be. The classes were really fun and I enjoyed myself a lot. I hope to do more workshops in the future.