Dec 23 — For over a decade, programming for autism has been a valuable and growing resource based at the Hormel Historic Home.
Involved from the beginning was Mary Barinca, whose daughter Meg was on the same show. Well, as the new year approaches, Barinka looks back at what has become a staple of autism programs through her Austin Austin as Community Autism Resource specialist.
At the same time, Beth Tobak is looking forward to becoming the second person on Austin Friendly Austin.
“I’ve already told Mary this,” Tobak said after sitting with Barinca at HHH on Wednesday. Not at all, but I’m going to plant some trees along the way.”
Barinka was one of the key people in getting started programming in Austin. Beginning with Circle of Friends in 2010, camps and opportunities for people with autism and their families have grown exponentially.
It all started with a $5,000 seed donation from Pat and Gary Ray. That funding came at the same time that HHH was doing additional preparations and building. Questions were asked in a larger conversation about how to utilize the space.
“Pat said, ‘If Gary and I made a small donation, like $5,000, would you like to start a camp for children with autism?’ said Barinca, who was formally nominated for
Over the years, Barinka has advocated for her daughter, first as a member of the Autism Friendly Austin Advisory Board, which gave her the perfect opportunity to use that experience to help develop the program.
“My daughter was about five or six years old at the time,” said Barinca. “I explained to her that there was an opportunity in Minneapolis, otherwise I would have had to call a coach or a teacher or someone and explain what she needed.”
Circle of Friends has begun the process of opening those doors. With each door, the experience became more. Also in her 12 years living in Austin, Barinca became acquainted with Toback.
Toback actually spent two stints in Austin. It was her second trip to her family when she really immersed herself in programming.
“Beth was involved with my daughter and knew she had a history of autism,” said Barinca. was active in
Tobak has extensive counseling experience and a strong background in mental health care. However, during some moves, Toback began working outside her field.
“Some of these moves have me looking for jobs outside of counseling,” she said. became a consultant for
As part of a collaboration with Austin Public Schools, Toback created an action plan for schools and families to implement for children with autism. Tobak said working with people on the autism spectrum is a passion.
“We wanted to create an autism-friendly community,” she said. “We wanted to implement some of them here. We are lucky to have the type of program here, especially for the autism community. This is not common elsewhere. .”
The partnership between Autism Friendly Austin and Hormel Historic Home has seen impressive growth, but Tobak believes there is still room for growth and will use his background in mental health to fuel its continued growth. I want to
“I think it will be very beneficial,” said Tobak. “I hear so many families saying they just need support. They go through depression they have anxiety like everyone else they have all these things they deal with me having a background increase.”
Moving forward, Barinca believes that helping people with autism succeed under Toback’s leadership will help Austin-Friendly Austin continue to find success.
She knows this because of how successful the program has already been with Tobak’s involvement.
“From personal experience, it’s been very transformative,” said Barinca. “Going back to what we started talking about, parents don’t have the opportunity to enroll their children and drop them off for summer activities knowing they can almost guarantee their child will be understood, supported and successful. bottom. “
Tobak recognizes that Barinka has been a part of it and is excited to have her added.
“Not everyone could have gotten this far in five years,” says Tobak. “I’m excited to add a little bit of myself to the role with a mental health background…”
The experience certainly left its mark on Barinka.
“It’s so rewarding and it’s never the same. Every day is different,” she said. .. not all communities. We are special here.”