Having been with SVP Calgary for just over 18 months, it was a thrilling moment for me yesterday to hear Scott announce Autism Aspergers Friendship Society (AAFS) as our new Investee.  Making the moment even better was that fact that so many former Investees attended the event in support of SVP and our family.

Ming has written recent posts on the work that the Investment Committee did throughout the course of 2009 and 2010.  When she and I first began this process in September, I remember we looked at one another and thought, how do we go about doing this?  And now, with the support of Scott, the Committee, and the Lead Partners – here we are, 10 months later, and voila – a new SVP Investee.

For those unable to join us yesterday, we’ll be bringing you more information & opportunities to acquaint yourselves with AAFS and with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).   AAFS began in 2004, with seven families, and with the intention of providing social and recreational programs for the ASD community.  Six years later, they are serving over 200 families in the Calgary and working with children and families affected by ASD.

There are so many activities that we take for granted on a daily basis.  Who taught you to camp?  How did you learn to date?  When did you learn how to cook?  AAFS works with the families and their children to devise activities that fit their clients’ needs – right now.  From leadership groups and drama programs to sexual education and mentorship, AAFS is providing programming that builds social, life, and communication skills for all of their clients.

AAFS is a perfect fit with the SVP Calgary Investment portfolio.  Beyond their scope of working with youth & education, AAFS reflects similar core values of our other Investees – developing practical, timely, and adaptive solutions to the issues.  Like our other Investees, AAFS programming is poised for growth and great success – and that is why the SVP Investment Committee choose AAFS from among the many applicants.

Dean Svoboda, Executive Director, began AAFS back in 2004, and has grown with the organization.  The resources that SVP Calgary will initially provide will help build out the staffing needs of the organization – moving Dean’s load from Office Manager to Executive Director.  Additionally, much of the assistance that AAFS has requested comes in the form of increasing training for volunteers, staff, and Board.  SVP’s Investment Committee saw an amazing opportunity to work with a strong and committed group of people – and at the same time, help to strengthen the organization for their future.

We’re thrilled by the strength of AAFS’s team – staff, Board, and families – and look forward to building our relationship.   SVP Calgary will be looking for a Lead Partner for AAFS.  This role is not about being an expert on Autism, but really about falling in love with the work of the organization & the team behind it.  I encourage you to consider this opportunity.

Please join Ming & myself in welcoming AAFS to the SVP Calgary family.

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