THRIVE meets Temple Grandin

THRIVE meets Temple Grandin

In March, Dr. Temple Grandin gave a seminar at the University of North Florida about her accomplishments. This was of particular interest to the THRIVE students because Dr. Temple Grandin is a remarkably successful woman and innovator in the agricultural field, who also has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr Grandin’s seminar is titled “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism.”  The THRIVE program directors and students had the incredible opportunity of not only listening to Dr. Grandin’s life story but also being able to meet her.

In the seminar, “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” Dr. Grandin discusses her life growing up and how she because interested in the agricultural industry.  She spoke about having difficulties in English class as it focused on figurative language, but she found mathematics and science mush easier as they were based on logic and formulas. She also had a very strong grasp on visual learning. Having autism had led her to think in pictures; for example, when someone mentioned a horse, she would mentally pull up all the pictures of horses she had ever seen.

Thinking in pictures also significantly helped her in pursuing a career in agriculture and in designing popular cattle herding methods.  She was able to pick up on thing other people could not. She was also very skilled at tracking and understanding their movement in circular patters, and angles that would be bast suited to them, which aided in their further development of methods.

Temple Grandin faced many obstacles in her life. She was a newcomer to the field when she was first trying to make tremendous changes.  At the time, people had very little understanding of Autism.  She preserved these obstacles and paved the way for others who also shared in her difficulties with Autism.

Dr. Grandin is considered the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world.  In fact, her journey was made into a film.  The THRIVE students were so inspired and thrilled to see and meet someone like them who overcame so many obstacles and rose to such a level of success. Dr. Grandin’s presentation also increased awareness and understanding about ASD for UNF students who may not have encountered ASD or who may not have understood what it means to have ASD.

After the seminar, the THRIVE students met with Dr. Grandin to take pictures and speak to her for a bit.  They were thrilled to have met her.

Thank you to Dr. Temple Grandin for visiting UNF and to UNF for hosting this wonderful event.  Also, thank you to Tara Rowe for all the great pictures you shared with us!


How YOU Can Help the HDS Foundation through AmazonSmile

How YOU Can Help the HDS Foundation through AmazonSmile

Did you know Amazon is the most massive internet retailer in the WORLD?! Did you also know that they offer a sister website, AmazonSmile that offers all of the same items, prices, and benefits PLUS donations?

The HDS Foundation mission is to provide services and resources to the Autism Community while also promoting and supporting the initiatives that create independence, employment skills, and the ability to access safe, affordable housing opportunities as they reach maturityWe do this through the generous donation of the HDS Companies and our donors.

YOU can help us raise funds and awareness to support our great programs too! It’s simple!

When you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation contributes donates 0.5% of the total purchase to the charity of your choice (HDS Foundation) at no extra cost to you!!!

All you must do is follow this short, sweet, and simple video to make the HDS Foundation charity as your default, bookmark it on to your phone or desktop, and make sure to checkout through AmazonSmile each time.


My Experience

My Experience

Helping with the HDS Foundation over the past year has been a big part of why I’ve loved working here so much. In my time at HDS I have written a few of our blogposts for the foundation about the events it has hosted and participated in. Seeing how great of a time the kids and young adults have at these events brings me so much happiness. Their pure smiles can shed light onto the darkest of times, because they give off nothing but love and acceptance.My favorite memory is participating in the Dan Marino Walk About Autism with Team Kate. This walk happens every year and it just seems to get better and better. This past year Team Kate was the highest fundraiser for the event raising over $8,000 to help kids with Autism and disabilities in South Florida. I’m so proud to call Kate my friend and to see the beautiful young woman that she has become. The commitment and hard work she brings to everything that she does is astounding.In my last few days working in the office I had the pleasure of being able to meet Nico, a young man who will be interning here over the summer. I trained him and showed him the ins and outs of everything there is to do here at HDS. He was a pleasure to mentor and can tell that he is going to do great things. I can honestly say that this company and foundation have shaped my personal character in ways that you couldn’t imagine. It has been a pleasure to work with the HDS Foundation and I hope that one day maybe I’ll even have the opportunity to return.

Nothing but love, Max

Author: Max Berger

BRIDGES Fundraises at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

BRIDGES Fundraises at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Last week, the BRIDGES program collaborated with the Cypress Bay High School Best Buddies Club and National Honors Society for a fundraiser at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. The fundraiser had an amazing turnout and was very successful in raising money. Everyone had a blast and got to eat some delicious food, too!

The BRIDGES program, Best Buddies, and the Honor Society raised funds by having people state that they were at Anthony’s for the fundraiser, and for each bill, Anthony’s would give 20%. The BRIDGES students were able to collaborate with the other two clubs to come up with the event and plan it. The students also came up with fliers to pass out and post on social media so that they could advertise their fundraiser. This led to quite a nice turnout!

Some of the HDS Foundation’s staff went out to support them. Carla was able to bring her family to help fundraise, and Meagan and Anthony also helped fundraise by buying some great food. Dr. Sandy came by to interact with the BRIDGES students and their families. Past BRIDGES students also wanted to support their peers, and so a bunch of them went to Anthony’s and got some yummy pizza. They had a great time getting to see their old peers and had great conversations.

The fundraiser had lots of support from the school, HDS Foundation, and peers, making a great turnout! The students are so proud of the event and themselves for helping put it together. Thank you to everyone who came out to support, and thanks to Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza for your continuous support!

BRIDGES End of the Year Dinner

BRIDGES End of the Year Dinner

This month, the BRIDGES students had a fun-filled End of the Year Dinner. It was an enjoyable occasion where all of the students came in their best cocktail attire: cute dresses, and button down shirt and slacks. The venue was decorated with blue table cloths, colorful balloons, and fun wall decals. There was a musician who provided the entertainment for the night, and a photo booth, which was a favorite among the students.

During dinner, the students had great conversations and talked about how nice the venue was and how glad they were to get together for the end of the year. The teachers also put together a great slideshow for the students, showcasing all of their Social and Personal Skills Class Activities. The students loved the trip down memory lane and reminisced together on each of the activities as the pictures came up.

After dinner, there was a delicious cake that everyone fully enjoyed. Once the cake had been devoured, the students all donned funky hats, masks, glasses, boas, and leis to take fun pictures at the photo booth. Everyone wanted to take pictures with the fun props, and the photo booth was a hit.

This has been another very successful year partnering with Cypress Bay High School to continue the BRIDGES program, and we thank all of the teachers for coming up with exciting and beneficial Class Activities. We can’t wait for another great year of the BRIDGES program!

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