Monday, August 15, 2016

Help me to Help Them!!!!

Calling on all family and friends!!!!! D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. means the world to me. It is my dream to create a place where individuals with Autism and their families feel at home! We have had three successful seasons of Challenger baseball and want to expand programming!

If I was asked 11 years ago where I thought I would be in 10 years, I would never have imagined I would be a mother of three children and the founder of D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. a non profit organization that provides sensory friendly sports and recreation programming for individuals with Autism. 

When Donovan was diagnosed, even though I suspected and I asked for him to be assessed for Autism, I still wasn't ready to hear that he indeed had Autism.  I educated myself and I asked a million question to anyone I met that had any knowledge of Autism. 

In the beginning when Donovan was much younger it was bit easier to go out.  He had very few stims or behaviors that would make him standout, but as he got older and his stims increased or his behaviors became a bit more noticeable for his age, trips to the local park became difficult for me.  For fear of how others would perceive him and my reaction to them, I went out less.  I began to try to protect Donovan, and keep him in a bubble so to speak.  It wasn't until my husband said "stop holding on to him and hovering over him.  Let him go play" Soon after my daughter Devynn pointed out the discrepancies on how I parented her and Donovan.  "Mom, why doesn't Donovan have to clean the room?" And just like that my propellers came to a halt and I realized, that Donovan was a child before he was Autistic.  I had to allow him to be a child and not a diagnosis!  He was capable of anything, he just needed the opportunity to try. 

A little more than three years ago, we went to watch my nephew play baseball.  At the end of the game, Dono came to us and said "I want to play baseball."  My not so verbal autistic son spoke in a full sentence and he wanted to play baseball!  I searched for a league that was tailored to his needs.  We ended up joining a league up in Westchester.  The league was set up so that children who weren't ambulatory could play as well.  So there wasn't any dirt or grass on the field.  It was a beautiful field, and all the kids got to play, but living in the Bronx and juggling the schedules of all 3 children was very difficult.  We asked Donovan if he liked it and in his sweet monotone voice he said "Yep" Then we asked "Do you want to come back?" and he answered "Nope".  My husband and I looked at each other with surprise.  We asked him, "Why don't you want to come back?" His response was "I want to play real baseball". 

We went back a few times, but I couldn't help but notice the stress on the other parents faces. Most of all I couldn't help how I felt.  I was hoping to meet other families and feel like we were accepted.  The staff weren't very engaging with the parents, and I didn't feel comfortable. 

I decided to approach a childhood friend who was coaching at the league that sparked Donovan's interest in baseball.  I asked if they would let us use one of their fields.  I just knew that if my Donovan wanted to play, there had to be more children who wanted to play too.  They were open to the request and gave me a field to use.  It was so important to me that the challenger program be tailored to our children's needs, but feel like typical baseball.  I wanted the children to be comfortable, but I also wanted parents to feel comfortable.  I needed them to know that their child was an individual and not just a number.  In May of 2013 we opened our first season of challenger baseball at Bronxchester Little League and this past June 2016, we ended our 3rd season. 

When the season ended I always felt sad.  I wanted to offer more than just baseball.  I wanted to create more programs that our children and families could benefit from.  I incorporated D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. with the hope of building a village.  I pride myself on that I facilitate programs and events where our children can be themselves, and parents do not have to explain their child's behavior to anyone! Where judgement is unacceptable and understanding is in abundance. 

At D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. I look to spread Autism Awareness, but I hope for acceptance of Autism.  I want to provide much needed programs and events to my community of the Bronx.  Please help me to continue to provide challenger baseball and expand our events and programs.  Donate  to D3 sports & Recreation Inc. Donate Here!

In the New York area on September 30th, 2016,  consider coming to our Flash Back Friday for Autism!!!!



By Purchasing a ticket or two you will be helping fund our program and receiving entrance to an amazing night out, delicious food/drinks, amazing hits from the 80s/90s, and a chance to win an iPad!!!!! Click on the link to purchase your ticket online or contact me directly to purchase in advance!
I thank you all in advance for your continued support!!!!!


Don't hesitate to post and share!!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I AM

Lots has happened and some things have changed since my last post.  I recently changed the name of my blog to A Boogie Down Chick's World.  I felt the change was needed and that the name fit better than the Diary of a Loving Mom.  I am a Loving Mom, but it really wasn't a diary, and I am so much more than just a mom.  Although being a mom is something I take the most pride in.  But I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom, advocate and the list goes on.  I am born and raised in the Bronx, and I am a true Chick from the Boogie Down Bronx!  Hence the name A Boogie Down Chick's World.

So much has been going on in my life, and it has made me take a step back and examine my life so far.  For example, my mom got really sick this past summer and I almost lost her, had we not gotten her to the hospital in time.  Being a daughter was one of my first roles in life, and one that I cherish.  My mom is amazing and she is a major reason I am the woman I am today.  She will be 80 years old next April and she is has been one of my biggest supporters/caretaker for my son Donovan who has Autism. 

I am the youngest sibling of a very blended family.  I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters.  We may not have the same mother and father, but we are brothers and sisters!  This is another part of my life that I share with the world, or the rather the few that follow.  LOL

I am a wife.  I met my husband back to before I can remember, we were probably in pampers and in carriages side by side one another as our moms were waiting for the elevator to go home.  We grew up in the same building and attended kindergarten together.  It hasn't always been easy and we have had our share of break ups, but our paths always lead us back to one another. 

I am mother.  There was a time when I thought that I would never have this title.  While dating my husband, we were careful, but we were also young and a bit na├»ve.  We never worried about not getting pregnant, because we didn't want to get pregnant so young.  When we finally married, I was ready to start a family.  After trying we decided to see a specialist.  After a many tries of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), a couple of miscarriages, it was our last try before we would have to move onto IVF.  I got pregnant with my daughter Devynn.  Devynn was 4 months old when I found out I was pregnant with my second child.  I had Donovan.  Three years after him I was pregnant with my youngest Dustin.  I love being a mother, and it is what I am most proud of. 

I am an advocate.  Most times when one advocates for a cause it is usually because they have been touched or affected in some way.  The first cause to awaken my fire for advocacy and support was HIV/AIDS.  I had and have many family/friends that have passed away and are still living with HIV/AIDS.  I became a peer educator for the Department of Health (which is now the Dept. of Mental Health and Hygiene).  I went into Schools and educated youth on facts of HIV/AIDS and how to practice safer sex.  My second cause and the one that pushes me the most, is Autism.  My son Donovan was diagnosed when he was just about 16 months old, and since then I have educated myself as much as possible and tried to spread so much awareness that we have ACCEPTANCE! Another cause I support whole heartedly is Dyslexia.  My Oldest child begged for us to put her in school and we did.  We enrolled her in Pre-K a year earlier, and she soon began to HATE school.  She struggled and when I pushed to find out why, we learned that she had Dyslexia. 

I am a Social Entrepreneur.  Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon business techniques and private sector approaches to find solutions to social, cultural or environmental problems. As per Unite for Site, a Social Entrepreneur the Social Entrepreneur aims for value in the form of large-scale, transformational benefit that accrues either to a significant segment of society or to society at large.” is Moreover, the social entrepreneur targets its programs at the “underserved, neglected, or highly disadvantaged population that lacks the financial means or political clout to achieve the transformative benefit on its own.” Social entrepreneurs are builders of a better world.  I have started a nonprofit organization D3 Sports & Recreation Inc. , a program that provides sensory friendly programming and events for children with Autism. 

Though many of my roles are linked and overlap, it was important that I choose a title for my blog that was better suited and would allow my to share all aspects of my life and journey!  So I leave you with this bit, which summarizes my blog. 

A Boogie Down Chick's World
A little insight into the world of a biracial woman, wife, and mom that was born and raised in the good old Boogie Down Bronx!!!! Share in my journey as a special needs mom to an Ausome Autistic Boy and to Sassy Princess with Dyslexia. I can't forget about my youngest who is a handful! Follow as I build a "Village" where our loved ones can come together and be themselves. And where families can allow them to shine without Judgement!






Monday, March 14, 2016

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is almost here and I am so excited.  I have already started planning my annual Easter Egg Hunt!  Every year, I get buckets and tons of bright candy and toy filled eggs for my kids to hunt around our court yard. 






It started out with just my children and each year we have a few more children join in on the fun.  They love to run around and search for all the brightly colored eggs and collect them.  They have such a great time. 



 


To plan and prep for your Easter Holiday Needs check out Oriental Trading!!!!



This review is based strictly on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion and/or experience with product I discussed.  I was provided a free sample by the company and I provided my honest opinion. No other compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Learing to Pause, Reflect and Repair Myself


Jada Pinkett Smith's response to How hard it is being a wife and mother


I am thankful that I came across this post, because I have been a mix of emotions and exhaustion.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that was bothering me.  I was slipping and feeling like what I was feeling didn’t matter. That I needed to suck it up and get over it. I have been feeling angry and I have been feeling alone.  

This is something that all women, not just wives and mothers should hear! Everyone should learn how to balance our duties and taking time out for ourselves.  You have to learn how to take care of yourself and how to truly make yourself happy.  You have to love you first.  I have lost my balance and I thought that I was taking care of me, but I was too wrapped up in making sure everyone else was okay.  I love to help others and make them happy.  But I haven’t truly taking care of me.  I have been feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated by those close to me, because they aren’t seeing that I am not myself.  The truth is that I myself didn’t know that I haven’t truly been myself.  I have been blaming others for my unhappiness and unbalance.  

I am not making excuses. I have taken on a lot. And that is no one else’s fault but my own.  I am taking accountability.  I have a vision and a dream that I want to fulfill and now I have to work on balancing it all.  But first I have to take some time to find me.  I need to pause and reflect.  Then I have to put things into perspective.  I have to begin to organize myself better, and set prioritize.  Work on what’s most important first and work my way down, versus trying to get it all done immediately. 
I am only one person.  Though I may have a thousand roles and wear a million hats, I cannot do it all.  I need to remind myself of that when I am asked to take on more.  

I believe in treating people the way that you would like to be treated.  So when I wasn’t getting the same treatment I became resentful and bitter.  It would make me feel like I had to work harder, or find more ways to make them happy and satisfy their needs.   I was letting others ideas and expectations dictate my actions.  Trying to meet their needs, and not have mines met really took a toll on me.  I thought that if I did what they wanted, that they too would want to do the same for me.  I was looking at those around me wondering why they weren’t noticing.  I have been looking to other methods of finding happiness and filling voids.  I have been looking for instant gratification, such as food, which has always been my go to filler for happiness.  But it is only temporary and it only contributes to my unhappiness once I am done eating.  I know this, yet I continue to do it, because it is easier to sit and eat bag of chocolate than to tell someone how you are feeling and they just don’t get it.  

I am motivated by positivity and encouragement.  It is difficult when so many around me only know how to point out the negative.  It can be very overwhelming to juggle so many things and only have what you’ve done wrong or what you haven’t done be acknowledged.  Even if it is done in a “Joking” manner.  

So with the new year approaching, I am not saying a New Year, New Me.  What I am going to say is a New Year to Live, Love and Laugh, and I will do that by taking time to pause, reflect and repair. 





Sunday, December 27, 2015

Catching the Sun....

Happy Holidays!!!! 

So I am super excited! This past weekend myself and the board members of my newly incorporated 501(c) (3) hosted our first ever Sensory Friendly Holiday Event for Children with Autism!  

D3 Sports & Recreation is dedicated to providing a safe and encouraging environment for individuals on the Autism spectrum with opportunities to participate in sports and recreational activities regardless of their gender, cognitive, physical and/or emotional abilities.  To promote Sensory Integration and Social Engagement through team play and recreation.  To promote and encourage community involvement and sponsorships, in order to provide services for free or low costs.
My reason for starting the organization was to be able to provide more activities for individuals with Autism and their families where they feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.  

The holiday season can be very overwhelming for people in general so can imagine how difficult it may be for an individual with special needs, such as Autism?  The big crowds, bright lights, and noise can cause someone with Autism to meltdown.  Let's not forget the long lines to wait and see Santa!!! So when Mott Haven Bar & Grill agreed to let us host our event there, we were SUPER excited!!!! 


1 Bruckner Blvd, Bronx, NY 10454 

It was important to me that we choose activities that were appropriate for the guests.  I knew just the place to find some cool crafts.  Oriental Trading!!!! awesome

Oriental Trading had so many awesome things to choose from.  I saw these awesome Snow Globe Sun Catchers, and thought they were really cute and unique.  I was sure the guest would have a lot of fun designing their sun catchers.

I have been reading lots of articles and one of my favorite writers/blogger moms Lisa Quinones-Fontanez even posted about coloring relieving stress so I thought this would help keep the mood calm and less overwhelming.

We set up the event in four different sessions to keep things moving smoothly. We found a bunch of crafts at Oriental Trading . The idea was to have guests come in and receive and activity sheet and number to take a picture with Santa Claus.  We had four separate work stations, with a different activity at each station. 


Our first station was the snow globe sun catchers, we set up the table with the sun catchers and the accessories that we purchased, such as markers and string, in order to complete the project and take home a finished product.

Some of our helpers setting up before the event





 As I walked around the room to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves, I noticed that the sun catcher station was the most calm and relaxed.  I even caught a few of the adults joining in and designing their own.

work in progress 





The snow globe sun catchers were a definite hit! It turned out to be just what I wanted, a fun yet calming activity.  

Our first Sensory Friendly Holiday Event was a success.  If you are looking for great crafts and fun activities to do, be sure to check out Oriental Trading.com


 This review is based strictly on my opinion.  Others may have a different opinion and/or experience with product I discussed.  I was provided a free sample by the company and I provided my honest opinion. No other compensation was received for this review. 












Saturday, September 12, 2015

She is My Hero

So the school year has begun and so has the Homework!!! As I'm reviewing my Daughter Devynn's homework I was a taken aback.  The teachers assigned a little questionnaire to learn more about their students.  

My Devynn struggled and disliked school for a longtime before we had her assessed and learned that she had Dyslexia.  She is an amazing girl, and I am proud of her! She is my eldest child and ever since her little brother Donovan was born she has been very nurturing and protective of him.  Even before he was diagnosed with Autism.  

When he was diagnosed, nothing changed.  In fact she became a little more protective.  They're only 1 year and 3 days apart in age.  But the way she cares for him, you would think they were decades apart. She was a huge part of his early intervention.  One of his therapist so to speak. He mimicked her a lot.  

As they got older, she continued to care for him in her way.  I remember going to the park and some kids wanted to play tag. They invited them both to play, and she grabbed Donovan and off they went.  I suddenly hear her telling the group of kids.  My brother is playing.  He doesn't really talk, and he may grab your ears.  He has Autism.  My heart melted.  She couldn't fully grasp the concept of Autism, but there she was educating.  She was Advocating for brother.  

So coming back to her homework assignment.  The questionnaire had a section where you had to name someone who she looked up to or considered a hero.  


It took me a minute for it to sink in.  My heart melted AGAIN!  She doesn't like to write and she has a hard time getting into detail when writing.  So I asked her to explain.  She said "because it's harder for Donovan to do regular things sometimes" 

I ADORE all three of my children!  They are my motivation for striving to make a better place for their futures.  But at that very moment, as I read that answer,  SHE became my Hero!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Wanted to do it Myself

The other day I posted about my Dono and his new haircut he did all by himself. I  wrote about how proud I loved his need for independence.  While  that same need for independence does indeed make me proud, it also scares me at times.  Especially when my autistic kid wants to cross the street "All by Himself"! 

My mom is generally who minds Donovan after school and during breaks from school.  But she recently fell ill and isn't a 100% as of yet.  So we have our sitter who steps in at other times when I have a meeting and the husband is working, or when the Hubby and I want a date night minding him and my oldest child Devynn while we work.  He is pretty good with minding the kids and they actually get excited when he comes over to stay with them.  

Yesterday he took them to get some pizza for lunch and Dono let go of his grip and tried to go off on his own.  The sitter is really good at telling about the happenings of the day.  Good or bad, and I truly appreciate that about him.  So he let me know that he took Donovan's iPad privilege away for a while.  I was okay with that.  It wasn't the first time he had tried this with him.  

Later that evening when I asked Donovan if he had run away from Ruben, he quickly answered "yeah". When I asked asked why, he answered with "I wanted to do it myself!" 

As a mom, you want to protect your children.  My oldest is 10 and she finally got the hubby and me to break down and allow her to cross the street alone.  I forget sometimes that Donovan is just one year younger than her.  Together with his Comm Hab worker we have been teaching and supervising him while he crosses the street.  Not sure if I will ever really feel okay with him going off alone, but my hope is that one day he will be travel trained in order to travel on his own.  

Again here he is telling me in his own way.  "I Can Do It"