Category: Community News

Big Wave Farm presents: Big Wave Lounge Planting Day

Saturday, May 10 from 10:00-1:00. 

 333 Airport Blvd.  El Granada, Ca. 94018.

$5.00 suggested donation for lunch of farm raised vegetables, fruit and egg salad sandwiches made from eggs from our chickens.

This event is an open, outreach event.   Families with developmentally disabled members and newcomers are especially encouraged to attend.

Farm Day Activities:

> plant veggies, herbs and flowers right into our new raised beds using the Square Foot Gardening method of organic, sustainable, food production.

> beautify the grounds by spreading wood chips in the community area.

> sow seeds in the greenhouse.

> eat directly from the garden and sandwiches from our own farm-raised chickens.

> connect with others in the community and share company and a good time.

> harvest some veggies to enjoy at home.

> meet our ladies (hens)

> throw some horse shoes.

> sit down and relax…

> donate to further our ability to teach our young adults how to grow and prepare their own food. 



We are currently looking to raise $50,000 in seed money for staffing, continuing ed, curriculum development and operations.

You can donate on our website or send a check to PO Box 1901 El Granada Ca. 94018.

The ‘Lounge’ theme purpose is that for our young adults to have a place to hang out and be with their friends and make new friends.  It is also an ‘incubator’ in which the young adults will be encouraged to use their gifts and abilities to serve others.

A few examples of the ‘service-based’ opportunities for farm days are as follows:
1.  Greeting and welcoming (smiles needed here)
2.  Food prep 
3.  Food service
4.  Co-project leader
5.  Farm assistant
6.  groundskeeper
7.  lounge lizard

Farm days are every 2nd Saturday of the month rain or shine.

For additional information, please call 650-245-2790.

Spread the word….!!!

Save the date!!

Big Wave Harvest Festival @ Big Wave Saturday, October 11th.

Special Olympics Swim Meet at CSM

It looks like the HMB Special Olympics team had a lot of fun over the weekend. Thanks for being such a supportive coach, Holly!

Check out some of the pictures: 

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[Pictures credited to Luis Enrique Bazán, USF professor and Associate Director for Global Social Justice and Community Action.]




















Demand Soars For Special Education Boarding Schools

This article was copied and pasted into this blog post for your connivence.  If you wish to read the article on the original site, click on the following link: Otherwise, read on.  The article text was not changed in any way. 


Increasing autism rates and rising mental health issues among children are causing a spike in the number of public school students attending residential treatment centers, boarding schools that combine education with intense therapy.

Many parents say these schools have performed wonders for their children, helping them back from the brink of dysfunction, despair, even suicide. But the high cost and soaring need have prompted some experts to warn that the service could be in jeopardy.

In Illinois, the state has informed local school districts, which pay much of the tab for their students’ stays, that demand for the boarding schools has outrun the money set aside to pay for them. That means districts will have to bear extra costs themselves — costs that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

School officials say finances will not influence their decisions on whether to send children to residential facilities, but some observers are skeptical.

“All this is going to do is lead to more litigation,” said Micki Moran, a special education lawyer. “Parents will need to sue the district, and more importantly, kids will have even longer delays in accessing needed treatment.”

Therapeutic boarding schools have been around for decades, designed for children whose needs are so immense that they pose a danger to themselves or others. The schools are paid to educate and treat young people in a setting that controls everything from students’ leisure activities to the time they go to bed.

Michael Resko’s parents decided he needed that structure during his freshman year of high school, when the depression that had haunted him since he was 5 became intolerable. He found a spot at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a therapeutic residential school on the campus of the University of Chicago.

“I felt like I belonged,” said Resko, now 20. “I started to laugh and developed some interests. It’s where I got my first taste of happiness. I learned I can enjoy those feelings … and endure the bad ones.”

Such comprehensive, long-term services aren’t cheap — Resko’s yearlong stay cost his school district, the state of Illinois and the federal government more than $100,000 — but school districts are mandated by federal law to provide a free and appropriate education to students with disabilities regardless of the cost.

Critics, though, say public agencies often throw up roadblocks that keep children out.

“We’ve literally had parents show up on our doorstep,” said Diana Kon, co-director of the Orthogenic School. “Their child has had seven or eight hospitalizations, and they don’t know what else to do.”

One frequently cited problem is the diminishment of the individual care grant, a subsidy administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The grants were once a common way to pay for therapeutic boarding schools, but in recent years they have all but disappeared.

According to DHS figures, the agency in 2006 awarded 114 individual care grants. Last year, it approved 19.

“I haven’t seen (one of the grants) come through in the last few years,” said Gineen O’Neil of the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education.

A DHS spokeswoman said fewer young people are meeting the grant’s strict eligibility guidelines, though those standards are now under review.

While the grants have evaporated, demand for therapeutic boarding schools has shot up. Five years ago, according to the Illinois State Board of Education, 156 districts sent 326 children to the schools. Last year, 200 districts sent 482 children.

“I think what we’re seeing is an uptick in students with social-emotional needs — kids who are so depressed and anxious they can’t make it to school,” said Ellen Ambuehl, director of special education for New Trier Township High School District 203 in Winnetka, Ill., which last year sent seven students to residential schools.

Special education attorney Brooke Whitted said children appear to be getting sicker and sicker at younger ages.

“Populations have changed, families have deteriorated, autism is up, and it’s not just increased diagnosis; every other kid we see is autistic,” he said.

Traditionally, districts have paid most of the tuition cost for their students, with the state chipping in the rest. Federal money, channeled through the Illinois State Board of Education, covered room and board.

But the federal contribution has not kept pace with the number of youngsters who need the service. ISBE recently informed school districts that only about 60 percent of the room and board expense will be covered this year. The districts will have to make up the rest.

That can be a substantial sum: Last year, students from Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Ill. had room and board costs of $1.5 million, the second-highest total in the state.

Maria Smith, Evanston’s director of special education, said losing a chunk of that reimbursement will hurt, but it won’t affect the district’s willingness to send a child to a residential school.

“We have not based our decisions for kids on finances,” she said. “We look at what’s appropriate and make do.”

Naperville District 203 in Naperville, Ill., which saw room and board costs of nearly $1 million in 2013, is aiming to keep more children at home by expanding its services for autism, said Associate Superintendent Kate Foley.

“The more you’re equipped in-house, the less you have to send someone out of district,” she said. “And those (in-district services) are not just for financial reasons, they’re for the right reasons.”

Other districts contacted by the Tribune gave similar assurances, but some advocates say boarding school requests are rarely approved without a fight. As resources shrink, they expect those fights to get even more contentious.

“The battles will become difficult, and we’ll probably see stories about tragic outcomes,” said Susan Resko, vice president at Chicago’s Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and Michael Resko’s mother. “Any number of things can happen when people are not treated for their mental health, and bad outcomes can come from that — increased substance abuse, increased incarcerations, increased suicides, hurting other people. I don’t want it to get to that point.”

She and other advocates say spending the money for residential care can turn lives around, as it did for Kevin Gump.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum, he was so full of rage as a young child that he sometimes punched holes in the walls of his family’s home. At school, his first-grade teacher had to convert a janitor’s closet into a “timeout” room just for him.

Kevin’s mother, Kathleen Gump, said the state twice denied him an individual care grant. Instead, he spent two years at the Rush Day School on the campus of the Chicago medical center, until Kathleen Gump hired a lawyer and pushed her local school district to pay for a therapeutic boarding school.

Administrators approved the placement, and in 2005, Kathleen Gump took her son to the Oconomowoc Developmental Training Center — now called the Genesee Lake School — in suburban Milwaukee.

“As difficult as he was, I was still heartbroken,” the Berwyn, Ill. woman recalled. “I will never forget the feeling of driving away and leaving a 9-year-old two hours away.”

With two years of intense therapy, Kevin learned to contain his anger. He moved on to therapeutic day schools and in August started going part time to a local high school. It was the first time in 12 years he had been with his hometown classmates.

Kevin, now 18, is due to graduate in June. His mother said that while she doesn’t want to get too optimistic, he is holding steady.

As for Michael Resko, he is now a sophomore at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he is majoring in history with the goal of becoming a teacher. Had he not been able to spend a year at the Orthogenic school, he said, his life probably would have played out much differently.

“I don’t know where I’d be right now … certainly not at college,” he said. “I’d probably be at home in some minimum-wage job … and I’d be upset because I’d know that, with the right help, I could have done better.” 


Copyright © 2014 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Challenger Baseball @ Barry Bonds Jr. Giants Field

The local Challenger Baseball team played at the Barry Bonds Jr. Giants field in San Francisco last weekend! It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun!


Check out the pictures: 

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Stereotypes Impede Driver Licenses

For your convience, article was copied into the bog post from Disability Scoop. If you wish to read the article at the original website, click the link or copy and paste the link into your  browser:

Suit: Red Tape, Disability Stereotypes Mar Path To Driving


Suit: Red Tape, Disability Stereotypes Mar Path To Driving


February 26, 2014

Advocates are suing claiming that people with disabilities seeking driver’s licenses are being subjected to unfair scrutiny because of stereotypes about their abilities.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court last week on behalf of six North Carolina residents, attorneys with Disability Rights North Carolina claim that the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles is forcing those with special needs to undergo unnecessary road testing and medical exams.

The suit alleges that Logan Wilson, 18, who has cerebral palsy, was required to participate in extra testing even though his doctor provided assurances to the DMV that such measures were unnecessary for the Chapel Hill, N.C. resident.

In another case, Steven Chambers, 19, of Vale, N.C., who also has cerebral palsy, passed his driving test and provided documentation from his physician asserting that no follow-up on his condition should be necessary. Nonetheless, the lawsuit alleges that Chambers has been required to provide medical information to the DMV each year for four years. What’s more, Chambers says he was told to undergo and pay for a costly “behind the wheel assessment” conducted by an occupational therapist.

Other individuals with disabilities included in the suit say they were barred from driving more than a specified distance from their home or subjected to repeated testing, among other restrictions, according to the complaint.

“We can’t sit by and allow the DMV to stereotype and demean North Carolina drivers with disabilities,” said Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina.

“These individuals continue to be subjected to the DMV’s discriminatory operation of its driver licensing program,” Smith said. “This must end.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of state law as well as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act and seeks changes in the DMV’s policies and practices.

Marge Howell, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina DMV, said in a statement that the agency is reviewing the complaint.

“We will work to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We are disappointed that the organization decided to take legal action,” the statement said.

Kids’ Autism Care Runs $11.5 Billion Annually, Study Finds


Article is copied into blog for your convenience on 02/16/14.  If you would like to read the article on the original site, click on or copy and paste the following link into your web browser: 

Kids’ Autism Care Runs $11.5 Billion Annually, Study Finds


Kids’ Autism Care Runs $11.5 Billion Annually, Study Finds


February 10, 2014

Substantial costs come along with an autism diagnosis, researchers say in a new study that attempts to put a price tag on the care needed by children with the developmental disorder.

When factoring expenses for health care, schooling, caregiving, therapy and similar family-coordinated services, a study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that an autism diagnosis brings an annual cost of $17,081 per child.

For the study, researchers surveyed more than 200 parents and looked at data from the federal government’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and National Health Interview Survey. They compared the cost of care for kids with autism ages 3 to 17 to expenses for typically-developing children.

Health care expenses for those with autism were about $3,000 higher than for other children, the study found. But it was school-related costs that packed the biggest punch, adding over $8,600 per year.

Nationally, with 673,000 kids estimated to be on the autism spectrum, the researchers said that the cost of caring for this group in 2011 likely totaled $11.5 billion in the U.S. alone.

2012 study found that autism costs total $137 billion annually, but indicated that adults account for the majority of spending since they require housing and are often unemployed or underemployed. The current study focused exclusively on children.

Despite the hefty price tag, parents of kids with autism did not report significantly higher out-of-pocket costs, the study found. Rather, the expense is largely borne by society through special education services and other offerings.

“There is a large economic burden associated with caring for a child with ASD,” wrote researchers from Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Michigan in the study. “These costs have been under-recognized.”

“Comprehensive policies are needed to ensure that funds are allocated to meet the needs of this population, and future cost-effectiveness analyses should inform how these funds are spent to ensure the best possible outcomes for children with ASD,” they added.

Building Compost Bins

Jeff Peck and a local carpenter, Steven Mack, worked together on Saturday to build compost bins. Using pallets as the frames, the men constructed the bins with plastic roofing.  When the bins are completed, they will be filled with plant and food waste that will decompose into a rich, nutrient compost soil to be used on the farm.


Below are a few pictures to exemplify Jeff’s and Steven’s progress. 

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Farm Day Pictures 11/02

Thanks for braving the chilly weather to come out to farm day this past Saturday.  Although there were only a few of us, we had a good time and got a lot done. 

Check out some of the photos below.


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Patrick and Kathy are planting lettuce 


2013-11-02 08.50.33     

The carrots are growing, but not ready yet.

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Patrick is shoveling compost into a wine barrel before


  Joey is planting broccoli plants.

Farm Day Invite 11/02/13


There will be a regularly scheduled Farm Day this Saturday, November 2nd.  9:00-12:00 with potluck @ 12:00.  You are welcome to bring something to share if you want.  

We will fire up the BBQ and provide a green salad and drinks.

Monthly farm days will focus on farm maintenance and weeding.

Farm will open @ 9:00 with lunch served @ 12:00.

If you would like to volunteer to help bring food, food prep or farm prep, please let me know…

Thank you.