by Shell Jones
I’m writing to extend a courtesy update for those of you who have been keeping up with PAC’s progress, and our diligent search to find a permanent home. Because of the unique nature of our center, we are challenged with finding a place that accommodates our special design, space requirements, location convenience and budget. As you can imagine, this isn’t the world’s easiest real-estate transaction! Thankfully, we have a very experienced, dedicated and real-estate savvy broker which I have the utmost confidence to help find PAC’s haven of hope.
At the end of last year, it seemed as if we were just about to ink a deal on that ideal place – great square footage, perfect ceiling heights, the right price, and minimal build-out. Unfortunately for us, the leaser pulled out during the final stage of negotiations – with no notice or explanation. Our initial response was frustration and disappointment, but after placing a desperate call to optimism and hope, we landed in a much more comfortable zone of “things happen for a reason.” This is a motto I’ve come to rely on throughout my journey in life and especially as a parent of a child affected by autism. It motivates my thinking, ambition, and purpose. So this month’s mantra is, “Through GOD’s grace, patience and faith, we will find the perfect home for PAC.” Believing that the principle part of faith is patience, I await the rewards.
My expectations for my son are just as passionate and deeply rooted in the belief that he will get better. While “better” may not be a fully recovered, autism-free life (although not impossible), my dream as his mother is to love, nurture, educate, exemplify, and help him become the best young man he can be. With the ever so vital reinforcements of direction, exposure, encouragement, persistence, and eventually PAC, we will get there. Along the way, I’ll feed my faith and fill my ambition with the satiating taste of progress, breakthrough, and achievement – one day, one word, one task, at a time. Anything else lacks value and is unhealthy, for me and for him. And no matter how small or how slow the walk, I’ll ride high on the peaks and stretch strong through the valleys with defeat distanced far from the equation – all for my son.
This fervor and relentless commission doubles as the driving force behind my commitment and energy to open PAC. Play-Place will impact my family as well as countless others who crave and/or miss those Friday family night outings or weekend play dates or big birthday celebrations in a public place. PAC’s model, purpose, and relevance will bridge the gap between isolation and inclusion, ABA therapy and the nuances of everyday living, misunderstanding and being understood. As a mother or father or grandparent dealing with autism, or an advocate awaiting the opening of PAC, I say to you: stay tuned, the best has yet to come.