In 2018, we are still on track to complete our current ten year mission plan by 2021. That plan was reviewed and approved by our corporate board of directors and officers in 2011. It was also decided that for our 20th Anniversary, on February 14, 2012, our name would change from THRESHOLD to The Understanding Autism Organization in line with our www.understandingautism.orgwebsite . In 2012, Dr. Sharone Lee, our CEO/Executive Director was on a track to complete her long course of studies in the fields of Visual Communication Design, best Autism practices, Developmental Research Psychology, Human Development and Parent Education, and Human and Organizational Development in 2013. Her studies in these fields has served to support our last twenty-five years of charitable activities. In that effort, we achieved our original mission goals in 2017--realizing our hopes in smaller and larger ways in the face of living and working in profound loss together. (See < Organizational Profile > Sharone Lee)
Sharone's volunteer efforts have let us pursue a quarter century of mission goals to provide: 1) best Autism practice model programs for people with Autism in our local community in Oregon--in hopes of developing a new generation of able Autism peer guides who will help each other, 2) professional and home program provider trainings held across the PNW region--in hopes of developing a network of best Autism practice providers and parenting peer mentors through our training alums, 3) Autism community outreach to families at the point of diagnosis and other times of crises by providing a sound base of accuratelife-spanning information about the Autism Spectrum, first in print in Oregon and then online globally--in hopes of developing a cooperative network of public and private resource information access ports through our collaboration with The Autism Society of Oregon and The Center for the Study of Autism, and 4) web access to a comprehensive Autism information mapping matrix with a parent and provider phone support line available--in hopes of creating a much better understanding of Autism and its mutual impacts for us all. (See < The Trail Behind Us)
Moving on from success and lessons learned in our first (1992-2001) and second (2002-2011) ten year NPO mission plans for our charitable works, we have completed all those projects in good form since 2012, while pursuing our next third ten year plan goals: In 2012, we first gathered together to look at our past achievements and to celebrate our 20th anniversary as an Oregon NPO. Then, we worked together to close the last of our direct contact programs for young people with Autism by the end of that year, while still providing all our students and families transitional consultation services until our last alum student reached adulthood in March of 2017, thus meeting our long standing commitment to support all of our alum with life spanning consulting services as they may need. That help is still available on request through our volunteer alum connect in Oregon. (See< Contact Us)
In 2013, our model program site and corporate office located in Salem, Oregon began to be carefully inventoried, packaged, and labeled by our volunteer program alum teams of people with and without Autism. This kind of work, change, and loss was difficult for us all and especially so for our alum students with more severe Autism. Yet, our slow and methodical preparation process and structured work systems not only eased the way forward, it let us all learn new ways to help people with Autism smoothly transition during big moves and life changes. We captured those activities and strategies in detailed visual field work records that we are analyzing and preparing to be shared with the world through future training events locally and in new online projects globally. This is an elegant example of how our peace-able mission work in loss has been able to "feed more than two birds with one hand".
From 2014-2016, our volunteer program alum teams of people with and without Autism helped with professional repairs of our beloved and well-worn model program site in Salem, Oregon in order to gain new vocational skills by preparing it for sale. Over this time, we also moved our huge resource base of adaptive training materials and office supplies and equipment, box by box, out into nearby storage units in labelled order so we could still access them when needed. Our alum with both more severe to mild Autism showed great pride in and strong feelings about taking on their well-matched adult work roles of giving back to the organization that had provided their programs as young children and teens. We all truly appreciated how this methodical process brought about a sense of full and authentic closure for us all, in the hope of avoiding real risks of lingering "what happened" questions or mutual misunderstandings during major transitions, which can sabotage plans for successful big moves by people with Autism. In the end, everyone was eager to move on.
At this same time, we had to adapt our plans to relocate our corporate offices and a mobile training unit planned to be nearby in Salem, but which was no longer workable at the time of our move. Gratefully, a board member had a great venue for our future charitable NPO operation in Portland, Oregon. This new main corporate office locale allows us to continue our long-running mission of online outreach in closer proximity to the volunteer technical advisors we need in a way that improved on our previous plans by providing a positive virtual work environment at a much lower cost--always a good thing for a non-profit charity. (See Our Path Ahead)
In early 2016, we began our other strategic mission expansion into Washington state where we are developing plans for a best Autism practices demonstration site and materials research lab. In pursuit of that goal, our base of materials was moved to storage in Bellingham, WA near our new interim model site development office in the Blaine, WA where it is being photographed to produce a visual information bank in the cloud, which along with our library of written research work will be available for application by our online media project volunteers working through our main corporate office in Oregon. We hope to be in our new space within a private adaptive residential model site in Washington that will let demonstrations of those materials be view-able globally online through our Oregon online media project work by the end of our current ten year mission plan in 2021. Because these two-state projects are more doable and sustainable than many of our past missions, and now well underway, we are looking forward to getting it done.
From 2013-2017 We began to photograph model displays and film the use of our voluminous stores of 25 years of educational, vocational, residential, and recreational skill training materials designed for use by our alum volunteers on site and our Autism information project team online. In this process, they are also being made ready for donation to other public or private,charitable programs, sale to cover project costs, disposed of if not in any use-able condition due to wear and tear, or put in protective long term storage for future demonstration purposes online, on site, or on the road. In this way, we are preserving their practical value while reducing our long term storage costs by preserving ra visual archive that can be cataloged and used for our future charitable purposes long term. When that mission legacy project is completed in Oregon and our new model site is up and running in Washington we will be able to move on to our next ten year mission to research ways to lower costs of life spanning Autism programs while improving their outcomes through innovations in "old school", architectural, media, and AI technologies. Cool.
So, 2018, we are posed to reach our next ten year mission mark in 2021 by achieving two big goals that will open the way for our 2022-2031 ten year mission vision to support the Autism community with readily available online resources for providers of life-spanning best developmental Autism practice programs at a cost that our families and service sectors can afford in the decades to come after. We believe that this will realize our charitable charge.
So stay tuned for news as we pursue and approach our remaining goal lines for 2021.