A farewell note from Jonah Weinberg, AuSM's ED
This note is my final message to you before I step down as AuSM's Executive Director. My departure at the end of July is bittersweet. I have loved working for AuSM and the Minnesota autism community during my four years in this position, but my husband and I are returning home to California to be closer to family. While this was always a longer-term goal of ours, a situation arose that caused us to move our plan forward, so now it is time for me to bid you farewell.
My time at AuSM has been extremely rewarding and educational. Although I began my career as a teacher, and then moved on to work in social services, autism was a new area for me. At AuSM, I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated and knowledgeable team of individuals on the spectrum, parents, family members of people with ASD, and other professionals who have worked in autism programs for many years; their insights and guidance helped me better understand the breadth and depth of the spectrum. And while I would never claim to be an autism "expert", I met many experts among the AuSM staff and our members, many of whom I've turned to for guidance over the years.
I'm proud of the growth we've seen in AuSM's programming and services across Minnesota. Historically, offering programming outside the Twin Cities metro region has been a challenge for AuSM, but this is our fourth year of summer social skills classes for families in and around Duluth, and we now bring workshops and trainings to dozens of underserved communities across the state. We also recently were awarded a grant that will allow us to offer live, interactive webinars and classes, which will reduce barriers for participation by people living in harder-to-reach communities. It's a great start on reaching communities in greater Minnesota, but of course there's still much more work to be done.
I'm confident that AuSM's dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to expand our reach and advocate for changes that will make our world as inclusive and welcoming for those affected by ASD as possible, and I hope you'll continue to support them in their efforts.
Have an AuSM day!
AuSM Executive Director