Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Setting the Table


Hey everybody. Been a while. Not too long, but we're about ready to get things started on our third Mission.

You'll start to notice, if you tend to notice these types of things, some little tweaks and such happening on the pages that are on this site as well as to our Facebook page. It is all some prep we are doing as we get ready to begin Mission 3.

Already I've gone in and started to re-work some of the info, and will continue to, to get it a little more streamlined. If you have any suggestions, feel free to give us a shout at what will be our new address for a bit, mip@blogzilly.com. We have the domain name missionipossible.com and .org, and I am working on e-mail addy's for that, but one step at a time.

Mission 3 will involve 6 iPads, and the good news is that we have the funds in place, for the most part, for all 6 already, so a new donation drive will not be required. Just like Mission 2. We will need to get some ducks in a row as far as some of the odds and ends for fulfillment, but there should be adequate time for that, because we still need to get the parameters put together for how we will be handling this Mission and obviously the application part will have to unfold.

Stay tuned for that, it will all be coming to you over the next few days. I need to get some of those old forms looked at with some fresh eyes (and brain), decide what we need and what we don't, and move on from there. It's been...rather hectic in our household (to say the least) but I at wanted to put the word out there for anyone who was interested to know that another run at some iPads was imminent, because it is.

And that is never bad news, NATCH!

I'll check in again soon with more.

PEACE.

-Ken
On behalf of:
The Mission: iPossible! Group

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

iHelene


I must have started this blog a half a dozen times, then gone back and erased the few paragraphs I had written.

Evolution of self is a crazy thing. If you are open to it, it can lead you in some wonderful directions in your life. If you are closed to it, if you find yourself bogged down by fear, anger, aggression...well, before I start sounding too much like Yoda, let's just say that you can very easily just miss out on so many lessons Life tries to teach you.

The reason I kept erasing the text was that I kept starting this post with apologies. I kept apologizing for the delay in getting it written, the delay in wrapping up this Mission 2, the delay in getting set to go with the announcement of Mission 3, for the this and the that.

And I realized...I have done that, and continue to do so, quite often, and not just here. I do it on my own space, I do it on other spaces where I might be invited to guest write. I do it a lot...in my everyday Life.

I think I am beginning to have an understanding as to the 'Why', but I'll talk about it somewhere else since I don't plan to make this post all about me. I will only say this about this place and this space. It's always been and always will be an Open Book. And it will remain so.


It is a reflection, perhaps, of who Heather and I are and whoever else comes to the table, and I like it that way. It is a perpetual Work in Progress, it is in its infancy, and it has much growing yet to do, because it, like all of us, is evolving too.

But it is Good. It does Good. And I think that I don't need to apologize that I can't give it the time I want every day, or every week, right now. I give it what I can, and when I can I'll give it more.

Because I do love it, and man-oh-MAN does it give back TEN-FOLD.


When I first read Suzie's entry regarding her daughter Helene, I recall some of her statements LEAPING out at me. Reminding me, strikingly, of my son Bennett.

'Helene...seemingly flourishes in the confines of a genetic disorder in the family of overgrowth syndromes, while the specific syndrome cannot be pinpointed (probably a mutation of one or more). Helene has Autism, a very limited vocabulary of one-two word phrases...a disregard for many social norms, and unbridled enthusiasm for all things related to sugar.'

'She is clearly creative and funny, with limited avenues for expression. For instance, she recently seemed to find it amusing to watch us find toys she had hidden in food. A small plastic baby found in the simmering tomato sauce, a tiny plush cookie monster upside down in a glass of milk, Dr. Doom staring up at me when I opened up the sour cream.'

I can't explain why, because Bennett does none of those things exactly, but the sense of humor, the ability to HAVE humor, is something that Bennett does not lack, despite his tremendous disabilities. And I just had an...impression, that Helene had a similar disposition.


Humor certainly helps, a lot...and I wish that all of us had more of it in our lives. Especially with our kids. Those of us that do...it is a very special gift. The sound of laughter, especially from a kid, does it get better?

We need to have it as well. Us, the parents I mean.

Suzie certainly does, as this little passage from her e-mail she sent me when they first got the iPad indicates. She was telling me a little about Helene, they had not yet given her the device but were waiting until Christmas. (And again...her description...sounds like she could be writing about Bennett, at least to me.)

'Helene is really beside herself about Christmas, in both good and trying ways. She is a veteran tree-decorator (on and off with those ornaments, again and again), holiday dancer, repetitive Grinch watcher, (Oh, those Whos down in WhoVille, the tall and the small...), cookie tracker and eater, and is exhibiting rather stunning and remarkable self-control over the mailing boxes that are coming in the door. Somehow she is fully aware they are presents, and must wait.'
 

'On the other hand, she has had an alarming number of tantrums, including the lay-on-the-asphalt variety at the Zoo the other day. The gang of kids and moms in attendance labeled it Helene's version of 'Occupy Zoo' behavior.'

'I sat on a bench and sighed...deeply...'

Sounds like a Mom you would want to hang with, right? I think that you ought to write a blog, Suzie, I really do. And of course, there was this little ditty that I got shortly after the iPad was given to Helene as a Christmas present.

'Helene has been waging a passionate love affair with the iPad. I (somewhat haphazardly) loaded some apps that I thought would be useful for her: a few movies, read along books, and several communication apps that include puzzles, word scramble, etc. She has already become so proficient at the word scramble, I have to research one with harder words.'

'She's been running around the house yelling opposites: Up! Down! Inside! Outside! Open! Shut! And spelling p-e-a-c-o-c-k and w-a-t-e-r-m-e-l-o-n! (Well, honestly, the end of watermelon gets lost, but you get the idea.) Mind you, this is from a girl who has VERY little to say generally.'

'The iPad has been a wonderful boon to her, and by extension, our family, and I've signed myself up for an apps class via an Autism task force so I can better meet her needs. We thank you again for making this possible for us. It has all been, as Helene would exclaim, DE-LICIOUS!'

Indeed it was.

PEACE.

-Ken
On behalf of:
The Mission: iPossible! Group

Friday, January 6, 2012

iDaniel


If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times.

The best part about this...experience, for lack of a better descriptive term, is that moment when, after having sent out the iPads, we get the pictures in of the children using the devices with their families.

Never gets tired. Never gets old.


It's like during the winter, when you are blessed with a slightly warmer than average day (if you happen to live up here in the Mid-West or other cold climates), and you have been trapped WAY too long inside your home. Cooped up. Contained. Forced to breathe re-circulated, dry, manufactured air from your heating system. But on this day, this special day, you get to go outside in something less than full Hoth Gear, and you feel a blast of crisp cool, FRESH air and it caresses your face when you walk around and you feel...renewed.

Yeah...that's what it's like. Kinda sorta.


Carolyn, who writes the blog Daniel's Gift, sent me some photos of her son Daniel and the iPad they received as one of our pair of Mission 2 Recipients. Carolyn timed the iPad to give it to Daniel for his 13th birthday. She wrote a bit about it on one of her posts about the birthday itself, and she shared this with us as well.

Daniel doesn't talk, but man can that boy play. His favorite toys when he was a tiny kid were anything with lights and music. He had a little jukebox that played tunes and lit up when he spun the roller in the middle. He wore the color off the plastic making that thing go!

When I started hearing about the iPad and all of the applications for learning and special needs, I knew he needed one. He loves grabbing cell phones away from anyone within reach. He likes the way the screen lights up, and his fingertips can make it DO things (although some of the accidental calls haven't been convenient).


Daniel doesn't have a formal diagnosis, but he's been assessed as autistic. His fine motor skills are something he works on everyday. Just holding his cup can be challenging at times. The iPad is already a big motivator for him in this area. He loves the apps that allow him to make colors appear (with sound, no less) and bubble wrap pop with a flick of his finger. There is so much potential for learning and eventually communicating that it can't be overstated just how valuable a gift this was for him on his thirteenth birthday.

Thank you for making this possible for him!

It was and always will be our pleasure. Can't wait to see more updates on Daniel's progress, and wish him and your family nothing but the best in the coming year.


These two iPads both came to be given to Heather by some very interesting circumstances. Perhaps if we lean on her enough she'll agree to do a write-up on the history of both of them and their 'stories'. It's fascinating stuff.

PEACE.

-Ken
On behalf of:
The Mission: iPossible! Group

Monday, January 2, 2012

This Is How It's Done!


For a long time now, I've always said how we never could have pulled off our Mission One project without the help of the Strong family. Taking us under their wing and offering us an opportunity to take shelter under the umbrella of The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation for purposes of collecting donations for our venture? It was game-changing.

It restored so much trust and faith in this community after what happened with the allegedly fraudulent contest that led to the creation of this group, and I believe it was by the grace of The GSF that the first Mission was accomplished in only 76 days. And though I know that at some point MiP will need to go its own way and become its own separate entity, its own non-profit group, I don't think there is any way I will ever be able to express my gratitude to the Strongs for what they did and continue to do.


Today they announced a new initiative of their own called Project Mariposa, where they will be giving away 50 iPads in 50 weeks to children with SMA. You can find all the details regarding their program over at their site, and for your convenience I have linked to today's blog post here. Be sure to read about a new app they are designing.


You heard me. An app THEY ARE CREATING. You can read about it by following one of the links on the Project Mariposa page. Its exciting stuff.

This...THIS...is inspiring. But then again, most of what Bill, Victoria and Gwendolyn do is. It will be fantastic to watch it all unfold over the course of the next several months.

PEACE.

-Ken
On behalf of:
The Mission: iPossible! Group