Neighborhood Spotlight – Kim Sinclair

Connecting and highlighting incredible people in our South Bay community is one of our favorite parts of our jobs.

 The inspiration we draw from those we interact with keeps us fueled through the ups and downs of the daily grind!

With the start of April, the designated Autism Awareness Month, we are proud to feature Kim Sinclair – Executive Director for the Autism Society Los Angeles!

After meeting Kim and sharing our story, she reached out to us to be featured as a Neighborhood Spotlight. This act is a perfect portrayal of Kim and her commitment to representing the Autism community.  Kim’s role with The Autism Society Los Angeles has provided her with an incredible platform to empower individuals with Autism, as well as serve as a resource for their families. With over 20 years of experience in both corporate and non-profit environments, Kim’s efforts have brought a focus on processes, fundraising, and program administration and development to the ASLA.   Kim and the whole ASLA team work ardently to improve the lives of individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Kim is especially passionate about using community collaboration to empower, educate and, ultimately, improve the lives of all individuals with developmental disabilities

Kim’s other passions include cycling, spending time outdoors and with her family.

  1. You are very passionate about what you do! What is your favorite part about working for The Autism Society Los Angeles?

Our mission is truly making a difference: “improve the lives of all affected by autism. We help empower individuals with autism (self advocates), their families, and professionals through advocacy, education, support and community collaboration”.  I love our entire community and that we are making a difference in people’s lives every day.

2. The Autism Society Los Angeles has a broad range of services, can you please give us a brief run-down of the services/experience that the organization offers?

We are engaged throughout the community in Public Policy to influence the laws that support our individuals and families.  Through Advocacy ASLA represents individuals with developmental disabilities in Sacramento through membership on statewide commissions and committees and building relations with legislators and administrators.  ASLA trains medical and law enforcement professionals improving the outcomes of interactions for our community members.  Providing a resource “warm-line”, to provide support for in need families, self-advocates and members of the community.  Presenting conferences and trainings, to provide education and increase advocacy skills.  ASLA also just launched a Self Advocate Speakers Bureau, to provide speaking opportunities for Self Advocates to community groups representing their voices. And finally, we provide an Annual Summer residential camp to young adults – Camp NAVIN to support independence and friendships.

3. Of the many programs the organization offers, which one is your favorite and why?

I love the newly launched Self Advocate Speakers Bureau. We train individuals with disabilities on presentation skills and then connect with community groups for public speaking presentations to create acceptance of differences. It is powerful and provides employment for our disability community.

4. What would you say is the biggest place where you have seen The Autism Society Los Angeles make an impact?

Our programs and services help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities develop advocacy skills and become educated on how to navigate the multiple support systems in California to improve their quality of life. Most importantly, we have been the lead organization in passing laws in California that will have a profound impact on the thousands of individuals with disabilities.

5. Does the Autism Society Los Angeles only help individuals with Autism?

No, we help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities, and professionals including medical and law enforcement.

6. What do you see for the future of the Autistic community and how is The Autism Society Los Angeles helping shape that future?

We are THE resource in the LA disability community and have trained thousands of family members, individuals with disabilities, and professionals.  And we will continue to support the community across all stages of their lifespan.

7. What impact do donations to The Autism Society Los Angeles make within the community?

All donations stay local, unlike many peer organizations. ASLA is mostly a volunteer-run organization that relies on donations to keep our programs and advocacy efforts continuing.  The funds raised support our mission and all dollars raised by ASLA stay in our community.  We are also always in search of passionate and dedicated volunteers that can help.  And we always value business support to help sponsor programs.

Details of how to donate or become engaged can be found at www.AutismLA.org

A great opportunity to get involved with the Autism community is taking place THIS SATURDAY from 12:00-4:00! The Nick’s Community Chili Cook-off guarantees delicious food, adult beverages & unlimited fun for kids, with profits benefiting Nick’s Community & ASLA

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Prepping For Spring // Backyard Edition

No matter where you live (but especially here in SoCal!) outdoor entertaining at your home becomes more appealing as the weather warms and the days get longer.

With the start of Spring and the much-rejoiced arrival of day light savings, now may be the ideal time to prep (or update) your outdoor living spaces! Thanks to Pinterest & HGTV, the design and decor ideas are endless… which may have you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The key is not to take on too much – just remind yourself that your main goal is to create a outdoor space that you can enjoy being in. We have gathered the following guidelines to get the gears turning and the inspiration flowing..

  • Be sure to create traffic patterns or designated ways to walk/move around. Due to the restricted lot sizes throughout most of the South Bay, this rule is especially critical if you want to make the most of a small or cramped space. This can be done in a variety of ways.. whether that be laying formal stone walkways or planting shrubs to help establish corners and borders.

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  • Add an outdoor fire source. Indoor fireplaces are great and all.. but when the mid-summer heat rolls around, you definitely do not want to be stuck indoors! Keep it low key with a portable firepit or firebowl (how cool are these!) or take things to the next level with a full fireplace. Just be sure to check your local building codes / fire safety rules… and to stock up on the s’mores supplies!

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  • Outdoor kitchens are an ideal way to extend your home’s living space into the outdoors. While detailed outdoor kitchens can easily become expensive, they don’t have to be! Remember, it is about creating an environment and the ability to eat outside, not necessarily buying all the frills and accessories. A charcoal grill and small outdoor dining table can be the start of your backyard dining experience.

Check out a few of the outdoor kitchens we are drooling over:

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  • Keep things practical and organized. Do not go over the top with accessories or details and have a designated area to put things (seat cushions, pillows, etc) when rain is in the forecast! Also, if you choose to incorporate an outdoor kitchen/dining area, be sure to have create a storage area for equipment to help keep the space cleared and available for enjoying.
  • Try out vertical gardening! Blank walls, covered patios and fencing can all benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. Succulents work best, and when coupled with found wood are a easy, affordable DIY project. We love  this charming vertical garden our Neighborhood Spotlight Anaïs and her husband build!

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  • Lastly, remember that a roof extends usability.  Overhead structures like a gazebo or screened porch provide comfort and protection from the elements, ultimately giving you more opportunities to spend time outdoors. However, the roofing does not have to be a permanent structure – pop-up tent over your deck or out in the yard can be just as effective in blocking the sun or rain!